USS Charleston completes maiden voyage, arrives in San Diego

USS Charleston (LCS 18) sails through San Diego Bay in transit to the ship’s Naval Base San Diego homeport. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy’s newest littoral combat ship, USS Charleston (LCS 18), arrived at its San Diego homeport April 19 after completing its maiden voyage from the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

Prior to arriving in San Diego, the Independence-variant LCS officially joined the fleet March 2 when it was commissioned in Charleston, South Carolina.

During the sail-around, the ship made port calls to Mayport, Florida; Little Creek, Virginia; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and Mazatlan, Mexico. The ship also completed a transit through the Panama Canal.

“I’m proud to say that the crew did a phenomenal job during Charleston’s maiden voyage, working many long hours to execute the voyage safely,” said Cmdr. Christopher K. Brusca, Charleston’s commanding officer. “To get Charleston ready for delivery, we’ve been away from our families for nine months, but during that time the crew maintained an infectious positivity throughout every aspect of bringing this ship to the fleet.”

The ship falls under Commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One (COMLCSRON ONE) control until the future LCS Mine Countermeasures Division is established on the West Coast.

The Independence-variant LCS are 127-meter trimaran vessels with a large internal mission deck with a flight deck capable of conducting dual helicopter operations.

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