JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Valiant has returned to Naval Station Mayport after a six-week counter-drug patrol in the Caribbean Sea, officials said.
The Valiant is a multi-mission 210-foot Medium-Endurance Cutter, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Missions include search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection, homeland security and national defense operations.
Officials said the crew patrolled more than 7,000 nautical miles in the Caribbean in support of Joint Interagency Task Force South.
The crew worked closely with partner nations, including the Netherlands. After careful preparation and coordination, officials said Valiant joined forces with the HNLMS Friesland, a Royal Netherlands Navy offshore patrol vessel and the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon to ensure the safe and expeditious transfer of four suspected drug smugglers to U.S. law enforcement officials.
The Valiant crew contributed to an interagency operation, which will support the dismantling of a transnational criminal organization, officials said.
"We had a very successful patrol this summer, ensuring the Caribbean remained a challenging and unwelcome place for drug smugglers to operate, combating transnational organized crime networks, and keeping drugs off U.S. streets," said Cmdr. Matthew Waldron, the Valiant's commanding officer. "My first patrol as commanding officer of Valiant, I couldn't be more proud of this crew. As always, we are excited and ready to return to our families and friends back in our homeport of Mayport."
Officials said a crew from Jacksonville's Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron joined the Valiant crew during their counter drug-patrol.