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USS Detroit's Historic Counter-Narcotics Deployment
by U.S. Navy Lt.j.g. Miranda Rossum
July 27, 2020

The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS 7) returned to Mayport, Florida on July 11, 2020 following its maiden deployment to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations.

Detroit, along with a detachment from the “Sea Knights" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, deployed on March 15, 2020 to conduct U.S. Southern Command and Joint Interagency Task Force South’s enhanced counter-narcotics operations missions in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean.

May 9, 2020 - The Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS 7) sails through the Caribbean Sea. Detroit is deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to support Joint Interagency Task Force South's mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anderson W. Branch)
May 9, 2020 - The Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS 7) sails through the Caribbean Sea. Detroit is deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to support Joint Interagency Task Force South's mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anderson W. Branch)

During their deployment, Detroit, with their embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET), disrupted an estimated 1780 kilograms of cocaine, worth over an estimated street value of $124 million.

“I could not have asked for more from the crew over the past several months. Our Sailors and Guardsmen have overcome equipment casualties, COVID-19 challenges, and losses back home to ensure the success of USS Detroit while deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations. I am proud to be a USS Detroit Blue Iron Warrior and can’t wait to sail with this extraordinary unit again in the near future,” said Cmdr. Jiwan Mack, Detroit commanding officer.

Just as Detroit deployed, the crew adjusted quickly to the new COVID-19 environment. Detroit’s crew met the changes in guidance and procedures due to the pandemic, safeguarding Sailors while still meeting counter-drug mission requirements.

“Detroit did a fantastic job while deployed, sending strong messages to our partners and our adversaries that the United States Navy operates globally and in all conditions,” said Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, Commander U.S. 4th Fleet. “Detroit did a great job adapting to our changing world, and their operational successes set a high bar for the next round of deployments. We are both grateful for and proud of Detroit’s accomplishments.”

This was a Navy and Coast Guard team effort and I am extremely proud of the way Detroit, HSC 22 Detachment 5, and LEDET 407 performed alongside our partners and allies in support of maritime interests in the Caribbean Sea. A lot of great work was put in by the team onboard and from outside the lifelines support provided by our Mayport-based staff and maintenance team,” said Cmdr. Joseph Caldwell, Detroit’s executive officer.

Detroit joined other U.S. Navy warships, numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperating in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, are all playing a role in counter-drug operations.

May 11, 2020) The Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS 7) sails in formation with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS Preble (DDG 88) and USS Farragut (DDG 99) while conducting maritime security operations in the Caribbean. The forces are deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anderson W. Branch)
May 11, 2020) The Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS 7) sails in formation with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS Preble (DDG 88) and USS Farragut (DDG 99) while conducting maritime security operations in the Caribbean. The forces are deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anderson W. Branch)

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.

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