APRA HARBOR, GUAM (WCBD) – The USS Charleston (LCS-18) recently returned to Guam after wrapping up an extended period underway in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Independence-variant littoral combat ship was attached to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, “in support of security and stability in the region, and to work alongside allied and partner navies to provide maritime security and stability.”

The crew “executed day and night flight operations, replenishments-at-sea, live fire gunnery exercises, and routine damage control training,” including “main space fire drill and aircraft fire fighting training.”

Such exercises are key to maintaining freedom of navigation in contested regions, like the South China Sea.

The USS Charleston’s smooth execution of the operations is an example of what force posture in the Indo-Pacific should look like, according to Rear Admiral Chris Engdahl, the commander of the Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Task Force 76.

“Charleston’s recent underway operations in the South China Sea are exactly what we have LCS deployed in the Indo-Pacific to do … Support our composite amphibious task force and validate our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

Commander Clayton Beas, commanding officer, said that the success wouldn’t have been possible without “the determination and expertise of all hands aboard Charleston.”

The USS Charleston is the sixth naval ship named for the city. It is based in San Diego, but was commission in Charleston in 2019.