USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) returned home Friday following a 12-week multi-mission deployment in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
The crew deployed in early March to participate in the Tailored Ship Training Availability, a three-week training program was testing the crew in naval warfare, damage control, engineering, navigation, and seamanship drills and exercises. Hamilton’s crew performed exceptionally well, achieving a 98 percent average score across all training categories. The team also interacted with the Coast Guard Office of Boat Forces and Aviation Forces to conduct necessary integration testing for future Coast Guard cutter boats and aircraft.
After completing TSTA, Hamilton transited to Costa Rica. The crew hosted the Costa Rican Minister of Environment and Energy and other government representatives and U.S. diplomats for an official visit to Isla del Coco, or Cocos Island. The Costa Rican government’s ceremonial announcements of three executive decrees to increase protection over one of the world’s most productive and biodiverse habitats highlighted the historic visit. The ceremony signified Costa Rica’s commitment to protecting the Cocos Island Marine Reserve and demonstrated the U.S. government’s support for marine conservation and protection.
Hamilton’s crew proceeded to patrol the Eastern Pacific Ocean, conducting narcotics operations supporting the U.S. Coast Guard’s Western Hemisphere Strategy. The embarked Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) aviation team, based out of Jacksonville, Florida, and Hamilton’s cutter boat teams collaborated to detect a go-fast vessel that jettisoned contraband. The crew interdicted a go-fast, detained four suspected smugglers, and recovered 811kgs (1,788 lbs.) of cocaine worth over $24 million in street value.
“I am extraordinarily proud of this crew and everything we accomplished during this deployment,” said Capt. Matthew Brown, the commanding officer of Hamilton. “We honed our capability to operate, defend, fight, and protect our cutter and applied it to directly combat the scourge of illicit narcotics and the destabilizing effects their presence has on the streets of our nation and those of our allies in the transshipment zone. Our partnerships with countries like Costa Rica and their coast guard strengthen our ability to dismantle transnational criminal organizations, protect the environment, and reinforce a rules-based maritime order.”
Hamilton is one of three 418-foot Legend-class National Security Cutters (NSC) in Charleston. With its robust command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment, the NSC is the most technologically advanced ship in the Coast Guard’s fleet. NSCs are a worldwide deployable asset that supports the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and national objectives through drug interdiction, migrant interdiction, national defense, search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, and national intelligence collection.