Lone Star Express airlifts crew for duty swap oversees

uss fort worth

We have seen the beginnings of the USS Fort Worth since its inception over 5 years ago to its commissioning in Galveston in 2012. Most recently the Literal Combat Ship (LCS) was put into action to assist in search and recovery efforts of the AirAsia flight in the Java Sea. Now Ben Fay, a Brewer High School graduate and Commanding Officer of VR-59,  has led a crew to Singapore to aid in the transfer of crew members aboard the ship.

VR-59, “The Lone Star Express,” a Fort Worth, Texas based Navy Fleet Logistics Support Squadron, is staying true to its Texas roots by providing the airlift support for the crew swap of USS FORT WORTH (LCS 3), currently deployed to Singapore as part of the Navy’s strategic rebalance to the Pacific. The aircraft departed for Singapore Feb. 8, with a fresh crew for the deployed ship. The off-going USS FORT WORTH crew returned home to San Diego this past week with VR-59 after a four month deployment.

VR-59 is attached to the Navy’s Fleet Logistics Support Wing (FLSW) and operates three C-40A Clippers, a cargo/passenger variant of the Boeing 737-700. These aircraft provide around the clock, worldwide logistics support for Navy forces, making them the perfect airlift solution for the challenges of an LCS crew swap. lone star express
“As the sole operator of land-based air logistics aircraft for our Navy, we perform a unique mission that is focused on enabling the war-fighting readiness of the Fleet,” said Capt. Mark O. Bailey, Commodore of the Navy’s Fleet Logistics Support Wing (FLSW). “We understand the unique air logistics requirements of the units we support and are dedicated to meeting those needs around the world. A forward deployed fleet with a dynamic operational schedule demands flexible, responsive air logistics support. We deliver that capability to Navy units worldwide and are proud to provide unparalleled air logistics support to the LCS community, including their crew swaps.”

USS FORT WORTH is the first LCS to deploy under the 3-2-1 manning concept, swapping fully trained crews roughly every four months. This concept will allow the ship to deploy six months longer than USS FREEDOM, which swapped crews once in 10 months, extending LCS forward presence and reducing crew fatigue for the 16-month deployment. It is named “3-2-1” because three rotational crews will support two LCS ships and maintain one deployed ship.

fay“The challenge that the LCS community faced was to determine the most operationally
effective and cost efficient method to swap their crews. Almost immediately, the
concept of managing a wholesale crew swap using Navy’s own airlift assets emerged as the best solution. Being based out of Fort Worth ourselves, we’re more than honored to support our Shipmates deployed with USS FORT WORTH,” said CDR Ben Fay, Commanding Officer of VR-59.