USS Freedom (LCS 1), the Navy’s first littoral combat ship, continued its voyage West across the 7th Fleet area of operations (AOR), arriving at Singapore’s Changi Naval Base Apr. 18 with Sailors and civilians assigned to NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka, Site Singapore delivering mission essential support.
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Sailors serving with Forward Liaison Element, USS Freedom (LCS 1), observe Freedom as it arrives in Singapore during an eight-month deployment to Southeast Asia. (Photo by MC1 Jay Pugh)
“The reality of today’s operating environment, coupled with the challenges of an ever-changing and dynamic world, demands a ship with flexibility and the LCS provides that,” said Capt. Marty Fields, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Commanding Officer. “Together, the men and women of NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka deliver the flexible supply chain solutions to keep LCS and our forward deployed forces in the fight.”
To keep Freedom’s warfighters operating forward, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka provides the 24/7 logistics support needed to operate at the tip of the spear.
“Our Logistics Support Representatives (LSRs) have been extremely effective in providing boots-on-ground support to the Logistics Support Team (LST), from tracking down and receiving critical parts to coordinating deliveries of provisions, stores, mail and fuel,” explained Fred Beredo, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Logistics Support Manager. “The LSR is essentially an extension of the ship's Supply department, which in the case of LCS, is the LST.”
This single touch point at the port is critical and a welcome sight to the crew in coordinating supplies and services, not just for LCS but for every ship NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka supports, Beredo said.
With a responsibility to serve all ships operating in the more than 51 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka personnel listen to their customers needs and determine innovative logistics solutions to get the job done.
“Shore support and communication is the key to successful operations throughout the foreign shores of the Pacific,” said Cmdr. Jerry King, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Site Singapore Director. “Close coordination will continue to be critical.”
Increased reliance on shore commands due to minimal ship resources place more requirements on overseas offices, Cmdr. King explained, adding that new contracts and blanket purchasing agreements have been set up for the unique requirements of LCS and for quick turnaround times.
“Fast, efficient and comprehensive support in logistics and contracting continues to be challenging, but very successful,” he said. “By ensuring our shore infrastructure is resourced properly we will maintain long term success of multiple LCS platforms abroad.”
This success came with a ramp up in capability that set the stage for superior support.
“In Singapore, our teams have expanded the product and service capabilities and capacity for warehousing, material support, HAZMAT, Global Logistics Support via LSRs and contracting,” said Cmdr. Mark Sheffield, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Operations Director, adding that a Consolidated Hazardous Material Reutilization and Inventory Management Program (CHRIMP) was put in place so that site LSRs can manage shoreside hazardous materials support as well as the onboard ready use inventory.
This high level of shore-based capability did not materialize overnight.
“For more than a year, in anticipation of Freedom’s arrival, our teams in Yokosuka and Singapore conducted a continual planning analysis to ascertain both the known and unknown of the very specific support requirements that are needed by the Navy’s newest minimally manned platform,” Cmdr. Sheffield said.
Prior to reaching Singapore, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Site Marianas personnel began assisting Freedom late last month when the ship pulled into U.S. Naval Base Guam where fuel was transferred aboard, pallets of provisions stored, maintenance parts delivered and Sailor’s mail from home distributed.
“LSR Jesse Sablan was able to coordinate pier side services with Base Port Operations, arrange for commercial laundry services of ship's linen, deliver cell phones, leased vehicles, mail and coordinate stevedore services for 14 pallets of provisions,” Beredo explained, “All this within the first few hours of pulling in.”
After leaving Guam, Freedom steamed to Manila in the Republic of the Philippines arriving Apr. 9, where NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Site Manila personnel guaranteed all port services were rendered to Freedom from potable water to service parts delivery.
“LSR Ramon Malate was able to negotiate and adjust fuel quantity with the commercial fuel vendor upon receiving the request from the ship to reduce the amount of fuel initially ordered, thereby mitigating backhaul charges,” Beredo said. “The LSRs capability and flexibility has been a key factor in successfully meeting Freedom’s port visit requirements.”
Along with the various port visits, Freedom will conduct maritime security operations and take part in a number of joint training exercises.
The ship is expected to participate in the upcoming International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) in Singapore and in select phases of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series in Southeast Asia.
Story by Sky Laron, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Corporate Communications