The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS St Louis (LCS 19), along with the “Rangers” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 50 Detachment 4 and embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment, departed from Naval Station Mayport June 15, beginning her maiden deployment to support U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations.

ST. LOUIS’ primary mission will be to support counter-illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean. St Louis operations will involve practical exercises and exchanges with partner nations, supporting U.S. 4th Fleet interoperability, and reinforcing the U.S. position as the regional partner of choice.

“I’ve seen this crew work through a challenging schedule in order to ensure we are ready for our maiden deployment to 4th Fleet. We’ve overcome every obstacle put in our way and we’ve proved we are ready to deploy and execute the mission,” said Cmdr. TJ Orth, Commanding Officer of St Louis. “This will be St Louis’s first deployment and the first deployment for many of my crew members, but we are eager to accomplish the mission we have been training for. I am very proud of this crew and I have no doubt they will continue to exceed my expectations on this deployment.”

Deploying an LCS to the region aims to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to international cooperation and regional security. The ship’s size, speed, and agility make LCS ideal for narcotics interdictions, partner engagements and port access.

“I’ve been deployed to 4th, 5th, and 6th Fleet several times on other platforms. This will be my first deployment on an LCS and I am excited for the new challenge,” said Chief Quarter Master Kyle Stevens. “This crew has worked hard to get to where we are and it will be a reward for us to see all that hard work pay off.”

USS St Louis will operationally be assigned to U.S. 4th Fleet. She is homeported in Mayport, FL and assigned to Littoral Combat Ship Squadron 2.