PHILIPPINE SEA -- The Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) conducted a vertical replenishment-at-sea of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) in the Philippine Sea, May 21. During this evolution, USS Charleston trained for resupply tasking in a contested maritime environment.
In recent weeks, the littoral combat ships deployed to the Indo-Pacific have shown their capabilities in a variety of ways that continue to flex the ships’ versatility. In addition to sea control operations, Charleston displayed LCS ability to fight into the littorals and then provide needed logistics.
“We got the word that Sampson was unable to pull into port to resupply and needed logistical support, so we did what Charleston always does – we fulfilled the mission,” said Cmdr. John I. Actkinson, commanding officer of Charleston.
Due to Sampson already being underway in the Philippine Sea, they were unable to return to port to resupply. During this replenishment-at-sea, Sampson received 44 pallets of necessary ship parts and equipment.
"I'm extremely proud of our crew and thankful for our shipmates on Charleston for the effort and response that went into making this plan a reality," said Cmdr. Mike Bencini, commanding officer of Sampson. "It is because of Charleston's ability to support forward presence operations, through innovative planning and platform capabilities that Sampson is able to stay on station without impacting mission assurance."
Through cross task force coordination, as well as communication between ships, Charleston was loaded and underway to rendezvous with Sampson within 24 hours. Forty-eight hours later, the two warships were executing a vertical replenishment-at-sea using the LCS-embarked MH-60S Seahawk helicopter.
“Because of Charleston’s high-speed and maneuverability, versatile mission bay, and naval strike missile, we really are the best-suited ship to provide on-demand, intra-theater logistics support,” said Actkinson. “This is just another example of how we continue to demonstrate our adaptability and interoperability with other assets in the Indo-Pacific.”
The resupply builds upon recent LCS events and operations to include Charleston’s participation in integrated mine-countermeasure training exercise Noble Vanguard, May 12 to 21. Noble Vanguard marked the first time Charleston was used together with the expeditionary sea base USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5) and Mine Countermeasure Squadron (MCMRON) 7 with the Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Chief (MCM 14) to support mine warfare training in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
Additionally, USS Jackson (LCS 6) has been routinely conducting concurrent flight operations with their embarked MH-60S Seahawk helicopter and MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle. Jackson kicked off the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2022 exercise series in Thailand, May 23, where LCS will continue to build interoperability and relationships with allied and partner nations in Southeast Asia over the next few months.
Attached to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, Charleston is on a rotational deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the region, and to work alongside allied and partner navies to provide maritime security and stability, key pillars of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
As the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed destroyer squadron in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 serves as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Singapore, functions as Expeditionary Strike Group 7’s Sea Combat Commander, and builds partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements.