SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Vice Adm. Rich Brown, commander, Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR), embarked Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) March 16, as the ship got underway from Naval Base San Diego for the final stage of Coastal Mine Reconnaissance (CMR) mission module testing.
The underway period gave Brown his first opportunity to experience how littoral combat ships (LCS) operate at sea. He told the crew he was impressed with the capabilities of the ship and her Sailors.
"These ships bring unmatched capability to the Surface Navy and provide flexibility to our fleet commanders," said Brown. "You can't understand the incredible capacity of these ships until you've been underway on one."
During the visit, Brown took an extensive tour of the ship, engaging with Sailors and answering their questions along the way.
"Having Vice Adm. Brown on board gave us the chance to talk to one of the top commanders in the Navy," said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Michael Mahan, from South Kortright, New York. "Even with his comprehensive knowledge about Navy ships, he specifically wanted to know about our ship, our work environment and our equipment - all the pros and cons and the issues we may be facing."
While addressing the crew over the ship's intercom system, Brown commended the Sailors on their successes thus far, yet challenged each Sailor to remain focused during the final stage of the CMR module testing.
"This is the best day I've had in my first two months as the Surface Force commander," said Brown. "Like all Surface Warfare Officers I love being at sea and being able to get underway, but that experience is all the more rewarding when you see the dedication and professionalism the captain and crew have displayed during this testing phase."
"I am impressed with this fantastic crew. This is one of the best crews I have been around in my 33 years," Brown said after the embark.
Last month, and ahead of schedule, the ship completed the first stage of module testing, known as developmental testing. During developmental testing the ship's crew and aviation detachment exercised the module in realistic environmental conditions, verifying that the system is now ready for operational testing.
"I think this visit provided Vice Adm. Brown the LCS experience he was hoping for," said Cmdr. Karl McCarthy, the ship's commanding officer and a native of North Easton, Massachusetts. "He saw first-hand the vital testing we are conducting, heard from our operators about the tremendous capabilities that LCSs offer the Fleet, and he told us he was impressed with and applauded the continued growth and recent successes of USS Coronado and the entire LCS program."
"This was a morale booster for our crew and we were honored to have SURFOR onboard our ship for his first underway on an LCS," said McCarthy.
Coronado is one of four testing ships assigned to Commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron ONE. Since returning from deployment in late 2017, the ship has been testing the CMR module, which consists of the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle, the AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlespace Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) system, and supporting software and containers.
Brown assumed command of SURFOR in January 2018 after having served as commander of Navy Personnel Command (NPC) and deputy chief of naval personnel.
SURFOR mission is to man, train and equip ships that provide fleet commanders with combat naval power at sea and to project that power ashore.
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