USS Fort Worth departs Pearl Harbor en route home

U.S. Navy littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Sept. 30, following a port call which included participation in the Secretary of Defense’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference.

While moored in Pearl Harbor, Fort Worth participated in a live helicopter visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) demonstration with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, and U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team.

The demonstration included two VBSS teams fast roping onto Fort Worth’s flight deck as a presentation to allies from Southeast Asia in efforts to enhance multilateral partnerships throughout the region.

“Being afforded the opportunity to participate in the Secretary of Defense’s ASEAN Conference has been a very positive experience for us,” said Cmdr. Michael Brasseur, Fort Worth’s commanding officer. “The teams we worked with were very impressive. I’m glad our Sailors were able to be a part of this demonstration of some our Navy’s and USCG’s top end capabilities.”

The ASEAN Conference is a multi-day gathering between leaders of the Southeast Asian Nations. It provides a forum to discuss ongoing relationships surrounding humanitarian and disaster relief capabilities, regional security interests, and is an overall platform for strengthening relationships throughout nations in the Southeast Asia region.

Aside from enabling Fort Worth to receive valuable parts and stores, the port call to Pearl Harbor marked a significant milestone in the ship’s story.

“The Pearl Harbor visit was also a big moment in the life of our warship,” Brasseur said. “This is Fort Worth’s first time back in the United States in nearly two years. We look forward to completing the final leg of our 8,500 nautical mile journey home from Singapore to San Diego.”

Fort Worth is currently en route to its San Diego homeport, after it spent almost two years operating out of Singapore as a maintenance and logistics hub from which the ship conducted patrols and trained with regional navies during exercises and real-world events, including the search for AirAsia Flight QZ8501.

The ship experienced an engineering casualty in January this year and spent some eight months undergoing repairs before being able to head home. Finally, Fort Worth managed to depart Singapore’s Changi Naval Base on August 22, using both main propulsion diesel engines for a transit across the Pacific Ocean.

USS Coronado is currently en route to Singapore to assume the role of USS Fort Worth in the Indo-Asia-Pacific rebalance. The Navy aims to deploy up to four littoral combat ships to the region on a rotational basis.