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USS Fort Worth LCS Chops to 7th Fleet

USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) on Nov. 25, 2014. US Navy Photo

USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) on Nov. 25, 2014. US Navy Photo

The Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS-1) USS Forth Worth (LCS-3) entered the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in the second deployment of the LCS to the region, the Navy announced on Thursday.

The deployment for the 3,000-ton ship follows a similar 2013 7th Fleet deployment with USS Freedom (LCS-1).

Fort Worth will expand LCS operations while in 7th Fleet, to include visiting more ports, engaging more regional navies during exercises like Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) and expanding LCS capabilities,” read the Navy statement.

Along with an expansion of operations from the 2013 deployment, Fort Worth will be the first LCS to test the Navy’s so-called “3-2-1” deployment scheme. Three crews will each take a four month rotation on two ships, one deployed and one in port. The idea is to minimize crew fatigue and maximize the utility of a forward deployed ship. The service plans to have Fort Worth deployed for a total of 16 months.

The ship will operate from Singapore.

In another LCS first, the ship embarked with a detachment from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35 that will operate both a MH-60R Seahawk manned helicopter and a MQ-8B Fire Scout rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Fort Worth departed from homeport Naval Station San Diego, Calif on Nov. 17 and is due back in March 2016.

  • Tony

    “Second deployment”? No other qualifier? Please recall that FREEDOM performed an “R&D” deployment; so, is this a 2nd R&D deployment, or a first operational deployment, or what? Spin, spin, spin….

    Also, what other class of ship requires a crew rotation to minimize crew fatigue? Was that in the design manning paradigm? (uh, NO! We just found out that minimal-manning was really undermanning, something that was predicted by many people working in the HSI/manning/training world). How do we keep a straight face and say these kind of things?!?

    • Marcd30319

      Tony, I am not sure about crew fatigue, but ballistic missile submarinse have always been assigned two crews (Blue and Gold) since the first one, the USS George Washington (SSBN- 598) in late 1960. This was to get the maximum deployment possible to maintain our submarine-based nuclear deterrent force.

      Also, I think, some time in the late 1990s and early 200s, there was a rotation of crews for destroyers and frigate operating in the Middle East. This was for crew fatigue.

      Regardless of issues about the LCS, this crew rotation policy is hardless unprecedented.

      • Ctrot

        SSBN crew rotation is used in order to keep a valuable national strategic asset on station more often, a totally different concept from the LCS crew swap model.

        • Marcd30319

          SSBN crew rotation is used in order to keep a valuable national strategic asset on station more often.

          Which is exactly what I wrote, Crot, but I was responding to Tony’s original posting about the crew rotations so I had to add SSBN Gold-Blue rotations.

          Also:

          a totally different concept from the LCS crew swap model.

          Which is why I mentioned the crew rotation for destroyers and frigates operating in the Middile East. This concept was the subject to a Professional Notes article in the Proceeding.

          I must say that if you are going to respond to postings then you ought to write something that furthers that discussion or add additional information to the discussion and not just regurgitate what has already been discussed.

          • Ctrot

            I admit to not fully reading your original post. It didn’t cross my mind that anyone would post a comparison between LCS crew rotation and SSBN crew rotation and then in the very next sentence give the reason why their own comparison was meaningless. And then you have the audacity to complain about my not furthering the conversation? A bit full of yourself you are.

          • Marcd30319

            I admit to not fully reading your original post.

            And then you have the “audacity” to complain about me not furthering the conversation?

            BTW – Tony’s initial posting was: “Also, what other class of ship requires a crew rotation to minimize crew fatigue?”

            I included SSBN crew rotatons as an example, noting that crew fatigue may or may not have been an additional factor.

            BTW – The crew rotations for destroyers operating in the Middle East may be more appros.

      • Secundius

        @ Marce30319.

        In this case there were Three Crews, not Two. Crew 103, the Rough Riders, Crew 102, Gold and Crew 104, the Juggernauts…

        • Marcd30319

          In any case, multiple-crew ship complements are hardly unprecedented.

  • Marjus Plaku

    They did not go with the pattern paint scheme?

    • Marcd30319

      I am just guessing but Fifth Fleet is a potential combat envonment, and pattern pant cheme is needed. I have seen such paint schemes used for patrol craft operating in the Persian Gulf.

      Seventh Fleet isn’t operating in a potenial combat zone, and more conventional paint schemes would be used.

      Is there anyoen else who might have some thoughts on this?

  • Ctrot

    The 7th fleet just got less effective, because if anything serious happens another US vessels effectiveness will be reduced because it will need to provide a defensive umbrella for Fort Worth which has no means to protect itself from peer threats.

  • old guy

    The USS WORTHLESS will be a great social asset, as it develops worthless “rotation” techniques for an increasingly curio-useless Navy. I sure hope Carter can straighten out this maritime fiasco. However the odds are against him.

  • Marcd30319

    Everyone,

    This crew rotation concept is called Sea Swap. Since this nes blog objects to posting URLs, just google “Sea Swap” and see for yourself.

    In any case, this crew rotation predates LCS deployments but, given the small size of LCS crews, it could make sense.

    There are many issues about the LCS programs that are hotly debated, such as the original “street-fighter” concept evolving into an over-sized, under-gunned platform that does not even have all of its mission modules available.

    However, LCS crew rotation is consistent with Sea Swap policies, and therefore, it should not be particularly controversial.

    All the best to the Institute and its mission.