Two LCS, Reagan Carrier Strike Group and America ESG on patrol in the Western Pacific

Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Trenton B. Coble, from Edgewood, Texas, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, guides an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter during a vertical replenishment exercise aboard the Independence Littoral Combat Ship USS Tulsa (LCS 16). U.S. Navy photo

KUALA LUMPUR – Two Independence-class littoral combat ships – USS Tulsa (LCS-16) and USS Charleston (LCS-18) – are currently on their first deployments in the Indo-Pacific region, with Charleston recently making a refueling stop in Singapore Changi Naval Base and Tulsa in the Philippine Sea.
Captain Tom Ogden, the commodore of Destroyer Squadron 7 (DESRON 7), confirmed the activities of the two LCSs, both of which are under his command.

“After arriving in the area of ​​responsibility of the US 7th Fleet in April and May, the USS Tulsa (LCS 16) and the USS Charleston (LCS 18) are on their first missions in the Indo-Pacific region. LCS rotation missions at C7F provide task commanders with great adaptability to support allies and partners across the region; provide permanent presence; and contribute to our common commitment to maritime safety; There is no better evidence of our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific than the US Navy’s operations in the region, “Ogden said in response to a query from USNI News.

Ogden explained that the Charleston was making a contactless brief refueling stop at Singapore’s Changi Naval Base, noting that the ability to provide logistical support from Singapore is one of the very core of the US-Singapore security relationship and support the alternately deployed LCS enables operations to be carried out in the area of ​​operations of the 7th US Fleet.

He also confirmed that Tulsa had recently stopped in Okinawa.

“As one of the many stops in port that will take place during its mission, the USS Tulsa is visiting the naval base at White Beach, Okinawa. Navy personnel, including Expeditionary Strike Group 7 and U.S. Marines III. Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) and subordinate commands are spending time aboard Tulsa to familiarize themselves with the platform and explore integration methods for future functionality with the Marine Corps, ”he said.

The USS Tulsa (LCS 16) is conducting routine operations in the Philippine Sea on June 13, 2021. US Navy Photo

The US Pacific Fleet Facebook page posted photos of Tulsa in the Philippine Sea on June 15. Before operating under the US 7th Fleet, both ships were under the US 3rd Fleet performing joint missions for the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI). The OMSI program is a Minister of Defense initiative that leverages Department of Defense assets traversing the region to improve maritime security and domain awareness in Oceania, along with reducing and eliminating illegal, unregulated, unreported (IUU) fishing, fighting cross-border crime and improving regional security, the Navy said. Both LCS carried an embarked division of the US Coast Guard with them when carrying out their duties.

The two LCS then moved on to Guam, where Charleston received German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on May 28 for a visit to Guam. The Tulsa and Charleston rotary operation is the sixth and seventh Littoral Combat Ship to have operated in the Indo-Pacific, including USS Freedom (LCS-1), USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), USS Coronado (LCS-4), USS Montgomery ( LCS-8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10).

Meanwhile, the Navy announced this week that the Reagan Carrier Strike Group, which is on its spring patrol, has moved into the South China Sea.

“The South China Sea is central to the free trade that powers the economies of those nations that are committed to international law and the rules-based order,” Rear Adm. Will Pennington, commander of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, said in a statement.

In the next few weeks, Reagan will transfer to the 5th Fleet to cover the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Eisenhower Strike Group will leave the Middle East and return to Norfolk, Virginia.

On June 10, the Japan-based America Expeditionary Strike Group and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit officially began patrols in the western Pacific, the Navy said.

“The forward deployed ships of PHIBRON 11 and elements of the 31st MEU in the area of ​​responsibility of the 7th US Fleet operate together to improve interoperability with allies and partners, and serve as a ready-to-use reaction force to defend peace and stability in Indo – Pacific region, “said a Navy statement.

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