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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Coast Guard Cutter Valiant Crew Returns Home Following 9-Week Counter-Drug Patrol

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant returned home Monday to Naval Station Mayport following a nine-week counter-drug patrol in the Eastern Pacific.

The Coast Guard Cutter Valiant crew patrolled over 14,000 nautical miles in the Eastern Pacific in support of Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S).

While on patrol, the crew interdicted two go-fast smuggling vessels, seized 2,718 lbs of cocaine, worth over $41 million, and apprehended three suspected drug smugglers. The crew ensured the safe and efficient transfer of all suspected smugglers, evidence, and narcotics to the United States for future prosecution.

“The noteworthy results of Valiant’s patrol underscore what a well-trained crew can accomplish with a still highly-capable 51-year-old Coast Guard cutter,” said Cmdr. Matthew Waldron, Valiant’s commanding officer. “Transiting through the Panama Canal and patrolling well out into the Eastern Pacific Ocean, at one point we were closer to Kodiak, Alaska than we were from our own homeport in Mayport, Florida. We overcame multiple engineering casualties to remain fully mission capable in the most highly trafficked maritime drug smuggling vector in the world for two months, all with no lost operational days. In doing so, we supported the nation’s counterdrug mission by apprehending illicit drug smugglers on the high seas, leading to the disruption and dismantling of transnational criminal organizations. I am so incredibly proud of what this crew overcame and accomplished. Now we return to homeport to refit, repair, and recharge–all so Valiant can go right back out and do it all again.”

While on a port of call in Chiapas, Mexico, a contingent of the Valiant crew dedicated a day to a local surf mission, cleaning beaches and playing soccer and volleyball with local children. The navigating through the Panama Canal earned the crew the “Order of the Ditch” nautical certificate.

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.

Read more at USCG

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