The Independence variant littoral combat ship Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Tulsa (LCS 16) arrived at Naval Base San Diego, Nov. 21, after completing the ship’s maiden voyage from the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.
Prior to arriving at its new homeport of San Diego, Tulsa made several port calls and completed a successful transit through the Panama Canal.
“Every day at sea, sailing across the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Pacific, we trained together as a team, conducting a myriad of drills while getting to know our ship even better,” said Cmdr. Drew Borovies, Tulsa’s commanding officer. “I am so proud of the professionalism and experience displayed by the Tulsa crew as we safely navigated from Mobile to San Diego. We feel truly lucky to be entrusted with one of the Navy’s newest warships.”
Tulsa is scheduled to officially join the fleet Feb. 16, 2019, during a commissioning ceremony in San Francisco. The Navy accepted delivery of Tulsa during a ceremony in Mobile, April 30. Delivery marks the official transfer of Tulsa from the shipbuilder, an Austal USA-led team, to the Navy. It is the final milestone prior to commissioning.
“The MCM (mine countermeasures) mission is vital to ensuring continued access and maneuverability in the littoral battlespace,” said Capt. Matthew McGonigle, commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One. “Tulsa is our second LCS slated for the newly forming MCM division. We are excited to welcome her and her crew home to San Diego, and just in time to spend Thanksgiving with their families and friends too.”
Tulsa crewmember Mineman Seaman Calvin Reed said he was excited to be home. This is his first ship, and he said he appreciated the camaraderie, experiences and challenges he faced during his first sailround.
“As a part of this crew, especially weapons department, [this underway] really helped me understand what the Navy is about,” said Reed. “Also, I can’t wait to commission Tulsa. I’m looking forward to the ceremony.”
LCSs are high speed, agile, shallow draft, mission-focused surface combatants designed for operations in the littoral environment, yet fully capable of open ocean operations. As part of the surface fleet, LCSs have the ability to counter and outpace evolving threats independently or within a network of surface combatants. Paired with advanced sonar and mine hunting capabilities, LCSs provide a major contribution, as well as a more diverse set of options to commanders, across the spectrum of operations.