By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Rhonda Burke, Navy Region Public Affairs
The Navy's newest ship, the future USS Freedom (LCS 1), will be commissioned Nov. 8 at Veteran's Memorial Park in .
The commissioning date set by Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter, was announced by the commissioning committee Aug. 18 in .
"This is a huge milestone, another milestone in the life of USS Freedom," said Cmdr. Michael Doran, prospective commanding officer of Freedom's Gold Crew. "It was a mere 64 months ago that Freedom was a proposal on a piece of paper and here we are announcing the date for its commissioning."
The littoral combat ship was designed to provide the U.S. Navy with greater flexibility and capability in operating in the littoral or "green water" coastal areas. The 377-foot Freedom is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots and can operate in water less than 20 feet deep. The ship will act as a platform for launch and recovery of manned and unmanned vehicles. Its modular design will support interchangeable mission packages, allowing the ship to be reconfigured for antisubmarine warfare, mine warfare, or surface warfare missions on an as-needed basis.
"It brings to the fleet a lot of flexibility," Doran said. "The ship was built with a specific goal and purpose in mind - to operate in shallow waters. It also has the flexibility, as 40 percent of it is large, reconfigurable space so that you can put the specific mission packages into it."
Freedom will be manned by one of two rotational crews, blue and gold, similar to the rotational crews assigned to Trident submarines. The crews will be augmented by one of three mission package crews during focused mission assignments.
Of the many new systems being used on Freedom is a highly automated engineering plant and water jet propulsion, both of which give the ship new capabilities.
Freedom was christened Sept. 24, 2006, in Marinette, Wis. LCS 1 is being built at Marinette Marine Corp. by Lockheed Martin.
Following commissioning Nov. 8, she will sail to Norfolk, for operational testing and then to her homeport of San Diego.
The second ship of the class, Independence, is being built at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala., by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works.