The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Sioux City (LCS 11), along with the “Sea Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, detachment 3, is underway to support operations in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.
Sioux City will support counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. Sioux City’s operations will involve practical exercises and exchanges with partner nations, supporting U.S. 4th Fleet interoperability and reinforcing the U.S. position as the regional partner of choice.
The deployment of an LCS to the region aims to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to regional cooperation and security. The LCS’s shallow draft provides unparalleled opportunities for port access, making the ship an ideal vessel for these types of engagements.
Sioux City will initially be manned by its Blue Crew of more than 100 Sailors, including surface warfare mission-package personnel; a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment; and an aviation detachment, who will operate an embarked MH-60 helicopter and MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff/Unmanned Vehicles.
“The Sioux City Blue Crew is comprised of ordinary Sailors that do extraordinary things, day in and day out,” said Cmdr. Scott Whitworth, executive officer of Sioux City. These are the mostly highly motivated, highly trained and cross qualified Sailors in the fleet.”
An LCS is a fast, agile and networked surface combatant, optimized for littoral zones. The primary missions for the LCS include countering threats from diesel submarines, littoral mines and attacks by small surface craft, to assure maritime access for joint forces.
“This is my first deployment and my first ship,” said Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kattie Smith, from Palo, Iowa. “I’m looking forward to getting all of my qualifications and maybe even get an ESWS (Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) pin.”
USS Sioux City is attached to U.S. 2nd Fleet and is one of four deployable littoral combat ships under Surface Division Two One.
LCS is a highly maneuverable, lethal and adaptable ship designed to support focused surface warfare, mine countermeasures and anti-submarine warfare. LCS integrates new technology and capability to affordably support current and future mission capability from deep water to the littorals.