USS Coronado heads home after first deployment

SAN DIEGO — The littoral combat ship USS Coronado was headed home to San Diego Monday following a 14-month maiden deployment to Southeast Asia.

The Coronado took part in 11 exercises that included a total of 16 allied navies and made 10 port visits, according to the Navy. The vessel was stationed in Singapore while deployed.

Crews aboard the Coronado rotated every four months or so to keep them fresh, allowing the ship to remain in theater for an extended amount of time.

“The rotational deployment of USS Coronado demonstrated the relevance of LCS as a platform tailor made for the dynamic and congested sea lanes, straits and archipelagos of South and Southeast Asia, providing flexible options and tactical advantages,” said Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, the commander of Task Force 73, which is responsible for security in the region.

“We made tremendous strides in a challenging, forward-deployed environment and the team is already applying lessons learned to future deployments in 2018,” Gabrielson said. “The Navy remains committed to the rotational deployment of LCS to the Indo-Asia-Pacific and views the LCS as a pillar of future U.S. maritime presence in Southeast Asia.”

The LCS is a fast, maneuverable type of ship built to operate in coastal waters. The class has been plagued by maintenance problems, but the Navy said the Coronado crew cut the average number of days needed for repairs from 15 to four.

“I am extremely proud of the sailors and the work we did in the region,” said Cmdr. Douglas Meagher, commanding officer of Coronado. “The experiences we’ve made with new friends and partner navies throughout the region during this deployment will remain with us for a long time.”

The Coronado, which left San Diego on June 22 last year, was the first Independence-class LCS to deploy to Southeast Asia. The version has a trimaran hull, a larger flight deck and more fuel-carrying capability than the Freedom variant.