USS Detroit returns from historic counter-narcotics mission

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

US Navy
Photo: US Navy

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

During their deployment, Detroit, with their embarked US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET), disrupted an estimated 1,780 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,” Cmdr. Jiwan Mack, Detroit commanding officer, said.

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.

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,” Cmdr. Joseph Caldwell, Detroit’s executive officer, commented.

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.

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