USS Vandegrift Almost Back Home

The Navy frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) is scheduled to return from its final deployment, where it operated in the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command / U.S. 4th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) Dec. 12.

Upon return the ship will begin to make preparations for decommissioning after 30 years of service.

During this final deployment, the ship played an integral part in the counter-transnational organized crime (C-TOC) mission Operation Martillo (Spanish for “hammer”). Operation Martillo, a joint, combined operation involving the U.S. and 14 European and Western Hemisphere partner-nations, targets illicit trafficking routes in the waters off Central America. Joint Interagency Task Force South leads the international, interagency operation which began in January 2012.

While participating in Operation Martillo, Vandegrift intercepted approximately 19,833 pounds of cocaine and disrupted numerous other illegal drug shipments.

The ship also participated in three community relations (COMREL) projects in Panama City in which 36 Sailors helped build a workshop for the blind, assist an outreach group in refurbishing their building and spent time with children in the Aid for AIDS community.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support Operation Martillo and 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 regions.

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Press release, Image: US Navy