The newest littoral combat ship, the Independence variant USS Manchester (LCS 14), arrived at her San Diego homeport, June 19, after completing her maiden voyage from the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.
Prior to her arrival in San Diego, Manchester was commissioned in Portsmouth, New Hampshire; made port calls to Norfolk, Virginia, Mayport, Florida, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and completed a successful transit through the Panama Canal.
“As Manchester plank owners, this crew spent 10 months away from homeport bringing our ship to life,” said Cmdr. Kurt Braeckel, Manchester’s commanding officer. “During that time they successfully accomplished many diverse and complex evolutions, consistently demonstrating professionalism in everything they did. It is an honor to be part of such a dedicated team and every day I find myself being inspired by their commitment to one another.”
Manchester is the 12th LCS to enter the fleet and the ninth to be homeported in San Diego. The ship will fall under Commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron (COMLCSRON) 1 control until assuming her role as the training ship for the future LCS Mine Countermeasures Division.
“The arrival of USS Manchester marks another milestone as the U.S. Navy continues to remain at the forefront of global mine countermeasures operations, and is the result of several years of hard work from her crew and the entire LCS community,” said Capt. Matthew McGonigle, commander of COMLCSRON 1. “Our Navy continues to prioritize lethality at sea, and the development of warfare centric LCS divisions will further ensure that our ships and Sailors are able to fight and win when our nation needs us the most.”
LCSs are high speed, agile, shallow draft, mission-focused surface combatants designed for operations in the littoral environment, yet fully capable of open ocean operations. As part of the surface fleet, LCSs have the ability to counter and outpace evolving threats independently or within a network of surface combatants. Paired with advanced sonar and mine hunting capabilities, LCSs provide a major contribution, as well as a more diverse set of options to commanders, across the spectrum of operations.