SEMBAWANG, Singapore (NNS) -- USS Freedom's "Blue" Crew arrived in Singapore July 31 to conduct the first crew swap of a littoral combat ship during an overseas deployment. An advance Blue team is already on board Freedom conducting familiarization evolutions at sea.
Following nearly five months of extensive training, the Blue Crew is ready and excited to assume the watch and continue Freedom's first deployment to Southeast Asia. They will conduct a turnover of the ship with the embarked "Gold" Crew, who will return to their homeport in San Diego via Navy airlift later this week.
"We are very excited to be in Singapore and look forward to turnover with the Gold crew and the opportunity to continue Freedom's first deployment to Southeast Asia," said Blue Crew Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Pat Thien.
The Blue Crew will also have an opportunity to explore Singapore on liberty. CDR Thien encouraged his Sailors to enjoy sightseeing in the local area and to conduct themselves as Navy ambassadors.
"Positive daily interactions with our Sailors and host nations throughout the region send the right signal," said Thien.
USS Freedom's first rotational deployment to Southeast Asia began March 1, when the ship departed San Diego and commenced a Pacific Ocean transit that included port visits in Hawaii, Guam and Manila. Since arriving in Singapore April 18, Freedom has participated in the International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX), two separate phases of the bilateral naval exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) with Malaysia and Singapore, and hosted thousands of visitors from throughout Southeast Asia. Fast, agile and mission-focused, littoral combat ships are designed to operate in near-shore environments and employ modular mission packages that can be configured for surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare.
For the second half of the deployment, the Blue Crew will continue to conduct port visits, exercises and exchanges with regional navies in Southeast Asia, including participation in exercise Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) and additional phases of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).