Getting Answers About LCS
A popular and timely topic of conversation throughout the Navy and beyond, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program is still relatively new to many Sailors. With questions about how LCS will affect the future of the Surface Force, and ultimately, Sailor’s careers; junior officers from Naval Base San Diego were encouraged to ask these direct questions during an LCS forum this week.
Four panelists representing both LCS-variants, USS Freedom (LCS 1) and USS Independence (LCS 2), spoke candidly to a room of junior officers— offering firsthand accounts of operations, benefits and challenges. Attendees appreciated the opportunity to dispel waterfront rumors and media myths surrounding LCS, and ask questions about deployment plans, crew swaps, detachments, ship capabilities, maintenance/casualties, crew make up and career tracks.
Vice Adm. Tom Copeman, Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet opened the forum by telling the group LCS is a different way of developing combat capabilities. Panelists included Cmdr. Timothy Wilke, commanding officer of Freedom (gold crew); Cmdr. Dave Back, commanding officer of Independence (gold crew); Lt. Evan Petracca, main propulsion assistant on Freedom; and Lt. Elliot Smith, main propulsion assistant on Independence.