Naval Station Mayport Becomes Second Main LCS Base
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — Naval Station Mayport, Fla., has become the second homeport for the Navy’s fleet of littoral combat ships (LCSs). Two Freedom-class LCSs now are officially homeported in Mayport, with more to come.
USS Milwaukee, commissioned in November 2015, operated from Mayport for much of 2016, and USS Detroit, commissioned in October, also has been operating from there. Until Dec. 22, however, the homeport for the two Freedom-variant ships officially was San Diego, although neither ship had ever been there. On Dec. 30, the Navy held a ceremony in Mayport to welcome the two ships.
Mayport has long been in the works as an LCS base, with LCS Squadron Two in place two years ago, building up the training and administrative infrastructure for the ships, of which at least seven were planned for basing there. But a Navy decision last summer changed the plan for Milwaukee and Detroit to end up in San Diego.
The Navy decided to base the LCSs according to variant, with the Independence variant based in San Diego and the Freedom variant in Mayport. The decision to base the Freedom class on the East Coast was a matter of practicality, as that variant, with its narrower beam, is a better fit for Mayport’s pier-loading requirements.
Four Freedom-variant LCSs are scheduled to arrive in Mayport as they are commissioned over the next year, LCS Squadron 2 said in a Jan. 3 release: Little Rock (LCS 9), Sioux City (LCS 11) and Wichita (LCS 13).
Currently based in San Diego are the first two Freedom-class LCSs, USS Freedom and USS Fort Worth, both of which have made deployments to Singapore. The Navy plans to move them to Mayport, where they will take on test and training roles for the LCS fleet.