USCGC Mohawk's Groundbreaking
Eastern Pacific Deployment
Coast Guard Ensign Annabella Farabaugh
December 24, 2021
The Famous-class medium endurance cutter
USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) returned to homeport in Key West Sunday
after completing a groundbreaking 45-day deployment to the Eastern
While on patrol, the Mohawk crew disrupted
illegal narcotics smuggling, interdicting more than 3,200 pounds of
cocaine. The team conducted joint training missions with crews from
Panama and Ecuador to strengthen regional partnerships in the
Patrolling in support of Joint
Interagency Task Force South, the Mohawk team interdicted a
low-profile drug smuggling vessel with approximately 3,200 pounds of
cocaine aboard and apprehended three suspected narcotics smugglers.
These low-profile vessels are purpose-built to evade detection and
transport illicit contraband across thousand-mile stretches of
The drugs, worth more than $60 million, were seized in
international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of
Ecuador. While in theater, Mohawk aided in stopping 17 suspected
drug smugglers, contributing directly to U.S. Southern Command
objectives to combat transnational criminal organizations.
During the Mohawk’s deployment, the crew took multiple opportunities
to strengthen ties with partner nations in the region, including
conducting joint rescue and assistance drills, exchanging law
enforcement and boarding techniques, and practicing towing with
Panamanian Servicio Nacional Aeronaval vessels.
USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) crew conduct a rescue and assistance exercise with Panamanian Servicio Nacional Aeronaval crews on November 13, 2021, at sea in the Eastern Pacific. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by USCGC Mohawk)
Mohawk’s crew also
completed a passing exercise with the Armada del Ecuador offshore
patrol vessel LAE Isla San Cristobal (LG 30) and conducted a two-day
joint counter-narcotics patrol through Ecuador’s exclusive economic
zone in the Galápagos Islands.
are critical to detecting and deterring illicit narcotics smuggling;
engagements such as these with foreign partners enhance
interoperability and interdiction capabilities,” said Cmdr. Andrew
Pate, commanding officer of the Mohawk.
Mohawk made history
during its deployment as the first U.S. Coast Guard cutter to visit
and anchor in the Galápagos Islands. The islands are a province of
Ecuador and a UNESCO World Heritage site, made famous for species
diversity and unique terrain. While at anchor in San Cristobal,
Galápagos, Mohawk conducted a professional exchange with senior
ranking officials from Armada del Ecuador, held joint law
enforcement training, enjoyed a cultural exchange ashore, and took
part in a friendly U.S. versus Ecuador game of soccer.
USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) crosses the Sleeping Lion rock formation on November 28, 2021 at sea in the Galapagos Islands. The Famous-class medium endurance cutter returned to homeport in Key West Sunday after completing a groundbreaking 45-day deployment to the Eastern Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by USCGC Mohawk)
U.S. Coast Guard’s ability to forge strong and lasting international
partnerships that further the national interest is what makes us
such a unique instrument of national security. I am very proud of
the Mohawk crew for their work as envoys of the U.S. Coast Guard.
The opportunity to work alongside the maritime professionals of
Ecuador and Panama during this deployment, as well as our
interdiction success sends a strong signal to transnational criminal
organizations that the United States values enduring commitments in
the region,” Pate said.
“Our interactions with the Armada del
Ecuador in Galápagos left a profound impression on my crew. Choosing
to go to sea and serve on a U.S. Coast Guard cutter opens the door
to experiences and camaraderie that you don’t get in a normal nine
to five job,” Pate proudly added.
While underway, the cutter’s crew completed
aviation, damage control, engineering, seamanship, navigation, and
combat systems training to maintain operational readiness and
prepare for future multi-mission deployments.
March of 1991, Mohawk is the 13th and final of the 270-foot
Famous-class cutters built. The medium endurance cutters fall under
the command of the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area. Based in
Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area oversees all
Coast Guard operations east of the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian
Gulf. In addition to surge operations, they also allocate ships to
deploy to the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific to combat transnational
organized crime and illicit maritime activity.
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