USS Freedom returns to San Diego
The sailors of the USS Freedom combat ship returned home by air last Wednesday. After taking the ship on its maiden voyage to Southeast Asia, Crew 102 were relieved by replacements, turning the ship over to them in Singapore on August 6.
Commander Timothy Wilke is the leader of Crew 102, who are participating in the LCS program. This is a Navy protocol that uses the swapping of crews in foreign ports, or U.S. overseas bases. This practice allows for the naval vessels to be in service overseas for a longer time. The ships increased availability for a myriad of mission types is also a result of the program.
The USS Freedom was constructed to cruise through and monitor the sea only the coasts of landmasses. It departed from San Diego last March 1. The crew change comes as the ship comes to the mid-point of its overseas mission.
When asked about his crew, Commander Wilke said, “USS Freedom and this amazing crew have really led the way. We have met every event head-on and have advanced the knowledge of the ship’s operational capability while operating forward. It’s been an incredible honor to command a ship like this on such an important deployment.”
Crew 101 took over manning the Freedom. They are scheduled to return to San Diego at the end of 2013.