JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Coast Guard Cutter Valiant and crew returned safely to Naval Station Mayport on Friday after completing a 32-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea. The patrol was initially supposed to last 30 days but was extended to 32 because of a last minute mission.
The Valiant’s crew patrolled over 6,300 miles of the Caribbean Sea while conducting a variety of operations in support of Coast Guard District 7.
The crew partnered with both foreign and domestic military agencies in the detection, interdiction, and repatriation of over 200 migrants. During their patrol, they received word that a suspected migrant vessel had unexpectedly sank, leaving 39 people in the water. The Valiant crew assumed command of the situation upon arrival and coordinated with Fuerzas Unidas de Rapida Acción assets operating out of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, to ensure the safe rescue and care of all persons in the water.
The crew conducted two joint operations with forces from the Dominican Navy involving the transfer and repatriation of migrants intercepted by Valiant crew and other U.S. Coast Guard assets. Combined, the evolutions conducted between the Valiant crew and the Dominican Republic Navy vessel, Aldebarán, ensured the safe return of over 120 migrants to their home country.
Such operations continue to showcase the value of partner nation operations and joint efforts to combat human trafficking, the Coast Guard said.
“Combating illegal immigration and protecting the safety of life at sea are extremely challenging missions that require the utmost flexibility and dedication,” said Cmdr. Jeff Payne, Valiant’s commanding officer. “I could not be more proud of the crew executing the missions flawlessly, saving over 200 lives and working with multiple government agencies to keep our nation safe.”
When discussing her first time docking the Cutter Valiant, Ens. Rochelle Anne Parocha, Valiant Communications Officer, said, “It was pretty nerve wracking. There is a lot of moving parts, but one thing to keep in mind is you are never alone -- but you are taking all into consideration and feeding into what you are doing.”
Following their arrival, the crew has two weeks with their families before they head to a dry dock for maintenance.
The Valiant is a multi-mission 210-foot medium-endurance cutter. Missions include search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection, homeland security and national defense operations.
For more information on Coast Guard Cutter Valiant, visit http://www.uscg.mil/lantarea/cgcValiant.