Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday visited the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) during his visit to Joint Region Marianas (JRM) and Naval Base Guam (NBG), July 30.
Joined by JRM commander, Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson, Gilday engaged with Charleston crew and personnel from Commander Task Force (CTF) 75, and discussed Naval Expeditionary Force (NEF) integration, Naval Strike Missile (NSM) capabilities, exercising with allies and partners, and a Sailor-centric maintenance model.
“Charleston’s deployment exemplifies the reliability and capability that we see in our LCS,” said Gilday. “With the naval strike missile and the naval expeditionary forces integration, they bring deterrence and lethality to the region.”
Sailors from Task Group (CTG) 75.1/Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 demonstrated the abilities of the Mk 18 Mod 1 Swordfish unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) and how LCS and Expeditionary Forces continue to forge new ways to integrate in U.S. 7th Fleet. The expeditionary mine countermeasures (ExMCM) team recently operated with USS Tulsa (LCS 16) and USS Kidd (DDG 100) while operating in a surface action group in the South China Sea.
Charleston is undergoing a planned maintenance availability (PMAV), and Cmdr. Joseph Burgon, commanding officer, Charleston Gold Crew, highlighted the value of the crew’s ability to use a Sailor-centric maintenance model.
“Hosting Adm. Gilday aboard Charleston was an honor, and gave Gold Crew the opportunity to highlight all the capabilities that LCS bring to the region,” said Burgon. “From increasing maintenance efficiency, to developing innovative ways to better leverage these capabilities, LCS is accomplishing great things in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and we’re proud to share our successes with CNO.”
Attached to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, Charleston is on a rotational deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the region, and to work alongside allied and partner navies to provide maritime security and stability, key pillars of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
As the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed destroyer squadron in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 serves as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Singapore, functions as Expeditionary Strike Group 7’s Sea Combat Commander, and builds partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements.