Engineman 1st Class Robert Carter, from Londonderry, N.H., left, assigned to USS Freedom (LCS 1), helps pin a junior Sailor during a frocking ceremony marking his advancement to a higher paygrade. Fast, agile and mission-focused, littoral combat ships are designed to operate in near-shore environments and employ modular mission packages that can be configured for surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare. Freedom is homeported in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Cassandra Thompson/Released)
Londonderry sailor loves the feel of Navy's revolutionary ship
Engineman 1st Class Robert Carter joined the Navy in 2002. He never imagined he would be assigned to Freedom, a technologically advanced, revolutionary class of ship.
As one of fewer than a dozen engineers on the approximately 40-member core crew, Carter is in charge of the ship's propulsion systems, generators, damage control, firefighting efforts, potable water and air conditioning.
It's shallow draft and maneuverability make it a formidable adversary to small fast attack boats.
"Small communities are, in my opinion, a lot better," Carter said. "You get to learn a lot more outside your rate, and be more proficient at your job, becoming the ultimate hybrid sailor. Also being a small-handed crew, you're doing a lot more work in a lot of different fields, so it makes the deployment go by a little bit faster."
"I spent my whole Navy career overseas, so I'm used to being forward deployed," he said. "But for the first time, I have a fiancée waiting for me at home, so it's tough."