The Navy’s newest warship, USS Coronado, arrived at her new homeport of San Diego on Monday.
Loved ones waited anxiously as the Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS) pulled up to the pier at Naval Base San Diego.
The ship has been underway since late January, making stops in Florida, Guantanamo Bay, Colombia, Panama and Mexico before arriving in San Diego.
However, many families have been apart longer than those two months while the ship was under construction at a Mobile, Ala. shipyard.
The Coronado is the fourth LCS in the Navy. Littoral combat ships are designed to be fast and flexible with a minimal crew.
“We have a 40-man crew, where as a normal ship would have a 200 plus crew,” BM2 Ricardo Tovar explained.
That means each sailor does much more than his or her primary job. When sailors are assigned to an LCS, they go through a training pipeline to prepare them for various roles.
“One moment, I’ll be doing something in aviation. Next thing you know, I’ll be standing an engineering watch. It’s constant,” Tovar said.
“Pulling in today, there was no one to man the rails because everyone has a job,” said Cmdr. John Kochendorfer, the ship’s commanding officer.
“Our crew gets augmented by what’s called a mission package. There’s an aviation detachment of roughly 20 people with helicopters, unmanned vehicles,” Kochendorfer said. “We also have combat systems mission module that comes on board with special vehicles, special weapons systems and combat systems.”
The ship will be commissioned at a ceremony April 5 at Naval Air Station North Island.
USS Coronado is the third Navy ship to be named after the Crown City.
Last month, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced a proposal to cut the defense spending budget which would limit the littoral combat ship fleet.