MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Capt. Paul Young assumed command of the newly formed Commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron (LCSRON) 2 during a ceremony held at Naval Station Mayport, Florida, Nov. 7.
Waterfront and community leaders joined Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, Rear Adm. Pete Gumataotao, in welcoming the Sailors and staff who will support the arrival of littoral combat ships (LCS) in Mayport starting in 2016.
The ceremony was held at the construction site of the LCSRON 2 headquarters where the support squadron staff and ship crew members is expected to grow to 900 Sailors.
"This is a major command set to do some heavy lifting for us in the very near future," Gumataotao said. "LCS is set to do very specific missions, but brings capabilities to the warfighter that can adapt and flex quickly to a very dynamic operational environment of the 21st century."
With the establishment of LCSRON 2, six LCS of the Freedom variant are expected to be stationed in Mayport within the next few years. These ships include USS Little Rock (LCS 9), USS Sioux City (LCS 11), USS Wichita (LCS 13), USS Billings (LCS 15), USS Indianapolis (LCS 17), and LCS 19.
The Mayport LCS community will include three new buildings where Sailors assigned to the ships will train, while the support squadron staff addresses administrative, scheduling, maintenance, logistics and equipment issues for the ships and crews.
During the ceremony, Young said this was his third - and the most exciting - time assuming command.
"We are going to ask a lot of these Sailors," Young said. "They are going to have to be as innovative as they ever have before. We are going to ask them to challenge and question things they spent years learning. And then, we're going to ask them to take those innovations and fold them neatly and smoothly into the greatest surface force in history. Any of you who have worked with Sailors know they'll do it. They'll get it done and that excites me. It will be an honor and a privilege to watch."
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. The LCS class consists of two variants, the monohull design Freedom variant and the trimaran design Independence variant. The ships are designed and built by two industry teams, led by Lockheed Martin and Austal USA, respectively. They operate with a core crew of 50, a composite aviation detachment of 23, and a mission module crew of 15 to 20 depending on the assignment.
"Littoral Combat Ships will play an important role in today's fleet meeting our CNO's (chief of naval operations) key tenets of warfighting first, operate forward, be ready," Gumataotao said. "It's very motivating to see the diverse mix of surface ships down here in Mayport... Amphibs, CRUDES (cruisers and destroyers), PCs (patrol craft) and soon the LCS Hull 1 variant. The sense of team and partnership is not just evident on the waterfront but also with the community here in Mayport. If you're a junior officer, this is a good place to put on your dream sheet!"
Construction is currently underway for a two-story logistics-support facility that will house classrooms, an operations work space, a reference library, office spaces for the ship crews when they are not shipboard, video teleconference rooms, and a crew lounge.
For more news from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, visit: www.navy.mil/local/surflant/.