KUALA LUMPUR — Littoral Combat Ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) has completed its deployment in the Indo-Pacific region and is now assigned to the U.S Navy’s 3rd Fleet, USNI News has learned.
U.S Indo-Pacific Command had posted two tweets on its Twitter account on Oct. 6, the first stating that Giffords was conducting routine operations in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations, while a second Tweet showed Giffords with carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO-200) during an underway replenishment.uss ga
Navy officials confirmed Giffords had completed its rotational deployment to the Indo-Pacific region.
“USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) has departed the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to join the U.S. 3rd Fleet following a successful 12-months rotational deployment in the Indo-Pacific, where she conducted several operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and frequently worked with other navies in South and Southeast Asia through a variety of exercises and bilateral patrols. Gabrielle Giffords has been assigned to continue her deployment in the 3rd Fleet area of operation,” Lt. Lauren Chatmas, a spokeswoman with Destroyer Squadron 7 (DESRON 7), told USNI News.
Better together!#NavyPartnerships The Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Gabrielle Giffords executed a passing exercise (PASSEX) with El Salvadoran naval counterparts in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Oct. 6.@USNavy @Southcom
— USNAVSO_4THFLT (@NAVSOUS4THFLT) October 7, 2020
Giffords’ departure now means that no LCSs are deployed in the Indo-Pacific region after USS Montgomery (LCS-8) returned in June this year, also after completing a 12-month rotational deployment. As of press time, no further information was available as to when the next LCS deployment to the region will begin.
Meanwhile, the U.S Navy is conducting its first Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercise this year, beginning with Brunei on Oct. 25, though COVID-19 has deferred most of the CARAT exercises in other countries scheduled for this year. CARAT is a series of bilateral exercises involving the United States with a hosting Indo-Pacific country. Chatmas confirmed that other than Brunei, CARAT exercises are scheduled to take place with Bangladesh in November and Singapore in December, while CARATs in the remaining countries — namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Thailand, and Timor-Leste — have been deferred for this year.
CARAT Brunei is taking place from Oct. 5 to Oct. 9. U.S. assets participating in CARAT Brunei include staff from Commander Task Force (CTF) 72, CTF 73, CTF 75, CTF 76, DESRON 7, EOD Mobile Unit Five, the U.S. Marine Corps’ III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), Special Operations Command Pacific, U.S. 7th Fleet Band, a P-8 Poseidon aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) 1 and the Expeditionary Fast Transport USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3). Many of the engagements will take place via virtual conferencing, but an at-sea phase in the South China Sea that will include divisional tactics and a tracking exercise will be carried out with ships from the Royal Brunei Navy.
The P-8 Poseidon will deploy out of Brunei for the exercise. “The aircraft personnel are minimizing their face-to-face interaction with anyone that is not part of the flight crew during their events in Brunei, ensuring they are not engaging in any activities outside the immediate area of the aircraft or flight line,” Chatmas said.