BY MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST 2ND CLASS (SW) MARK LOGICO -PEARL HARBOR – U.S. and Singapore Sailors from USS Freedom (LCS 1) and RSS Supreme (70), respectively, trade professional knowledge, June 28, while both ships are moored at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Sailors from each ship visited the other as part of the 2010 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. One of the goals of RIMPAC is to build relationships and mutual understandings between partner nations and its navies.
Chief Damage Controlman (SW/FMF) Craig Cole, the damage control assistant aboard Freedom, along with eight other Freedom Sailors, visited Supreme in the morning to learn how the Singapore crew handles damage control.
“We’ve learned a lot from them,” said Cole. Cole explained that the U.S. Navy is not used to managing small crews. “We are a big Navy with big crews on big ships whereas Singapore is a small Navy with small ships and small crews. They have learned how to manage with small crews whereas we really haven’t.”
Supreme is a multi-role stealth frigate which currently holds a crew 71 sailors. Freedom, however, is the lead ship of the Freedom class of littoral combat ships and has a crew of about 40 personnel.
Freedom’s crew is part of an innovative manning construct that reduces crew size, demanding each Sailor maintain high levels of proficiency in multiple fields, and optimizes ship operability with multiple crews.
Though a typical Singapore patrol vessel carries a crew of 30 personnel, sailors aboard Supreme were nevertheless impressed by the size of Freedom’s crew.
Senior Marine Engineer Wee Tiong Teo, the officer in charge of fire fighting, along with six other sailors, came aboard Freedom later in the afternoon to tour the ship.
“I’m really surprise on the size of the crew and the size of the ship,” said Teo referring to Freedom. “It’s not any smaller than the size of my ship. I’m really quite impressed with the level of automations that the ship has.”
Teo said he was interested in how the ship operates and how the leadership manages morale and fatigue among the crew.
“We are multi-tasked quite a bit,” said Teo. “Judging by the size of the ship [Freedom] and the number of people that they have, I think their capacity to multi-task is amazing. It’s definitely something for us to learn.”
The 2010 RIMPAC exercise will bring to together units and personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Peru, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.
During the exercise, participating countries will conduct gunnery, missile, anti-submarine, and air defense exercises, as well as maritime interdiction and vessel boarding, explosive ordnance disposal, diving and salvage operations, mine clearance operations, and an amphibious landing.
RIMPAC is the world’s largest multinational maritime exercise, and will take place in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands. The exercise is themed “Combined Agility, Synergy and Support,” and marks the 22nd exercise in the series that originated in 1971.
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico issued this report for the Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs