The U.S. Navy’s Independence-class littoral combat ship, USS Coronado (LCS-4) and the “Wildcards” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 returned home to San Diego from an 18-month deployment, Dec. 5.
HSC-23 disembarked the ship earlier in the day, flying back to Naval Air Station North Island. A few hours later, Sailors of LCS Crew 203 greeted friends and family at the pier, ending eight months of an eighteen-month deployment. In April, LCS Crew 203 relieved LCS Crew 204 who had taken Coronado on her maiden deployment beginning in June 2016.
“Each member of the core crew and the detachments contributed to Coronado’s successful maiden deployment,” said Cmdr. Douglas Meagher, Coronado’s commanding officer. “I am extremely proud of their sustained efforts at sea and our accomplishments as a team.”
Coronado participated in and conducted various operations in the seventh fleet, contributing to the littoral combat ship program and to the nation on her maiden deployment.
Coronado also strengthened relationships with many of the nation’s allies, including the republic of Singapore and its navy, which became a temporary homeport for Coronado during her deployment.
“We were honored to work with our partners in Singapore. They helped become a home away from home while the ship was there,” said Meagher.
During the deployment, Coronado operated with navies of 16 nations, participated in 11 multilateral and bilateral exercises, and made 10 strategic port visits across the region. While operating with the Singaporean Navy during the Pacific Griffin exercise near Guam, Coronado fired a Harpoon surface-to-surface missile and successfully struck a target beyond visual range.
“This deployment showed me the true power of the ‘Sailor,’” said Coronado’s Command Master Chief Joshua J. Jackson. “With a minimally manned crew we accomplished a great deal and successfully met the challenges of completing many ‘first’ milestones in the community. Our crew was extremely honored to accept the challenges and now we are excited to return home to our families.”
The Sailors were not the only ones happy for the homecoming. Family and friends were excited to show their love and support for the returning Sailors.
“The home fire is burning bright and the families are excited to welcome home their Sailors,” said Lorraine Richards, Coronado’s ombudsman. “In addition to the great job our Sailors have done while deployed, during these past eight months we’ve had three babies born, several graduations and promotions. Now we look forward to having some time to enjoy milestones together and enjoy our time with our Sailors.”
Capt. Jordy M. Harrison, commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron ONE, was also on hand to welcome home the crew of Coronado. He said he was proud of and amazed by the crew’s performance during their long deployment.
“What our ships offer our combatant commanders cannot be understated,” said Harrison. “LCS provides force flexibility, offering commanders options to pair capability with mission. USS Coronado returning to her homeport after her maiden deployment is a testament to the successes of the ship and program, demonstrating once again the capability and value of LCS in the Fleet.”
Coronado is the fourth littoral combat ship and second member of the independence-variant. She is the third ship named after the city of Coronado. LCS is a high speed, agile, shallow draft, mission-focused surface combatant designed for operations in the littoral environment, yet fully capable of open ocean operations. As part of the surface fleet, LCS has the ability to counter and outpace evolving threats independently or within a network of surface combatants. Paired with advanced sonar and mine hunting capabilities, LCS provides a major contribution, as well as a more diverse set of options to commanders, across the spectrum of operations.
MC1 Kaleb Staples, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron 1