Coast Guard Cutter Forward to return following a successful two-month patrol

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Forward, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter, is scheduled to return home to Portsmouth today after a 56-day patrol to the Caribbean Sea.

The Forward’s primary missions included the deterrence and interdiction of illegal migration and narcotics.

While conducting a routine law-enforcement patrol March 31, a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Branch P-3 fixed-wing aircraft crew from Jacksonville, Fla., notified the Coast Guard after locating a suspicious go-fast vessel.

An HH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron in Jacksonville, embarked with the Coast Guard Cutter Forward, was launched and used warning shots and disabling fire to bring the vessel to a halt after the go-fast crew failed to comply with orders to stop. A law-enforcement crew from the Forward boarded the vessel, located nearly 2,900 pounds of cocaine on the vessel and detained the five suspects aboard. The five suspects and contraband were turned over to authorities in Panama for further investigation.

Cutter Forward’s crew also conducted extensive training while deployed including armed helicopter work-ups in Mayport, Fla., and ship-helicopter operations off the coast of Cape Canaveral.

While the deployment was intense, the crew still had time for some relaxation as they participated in swim calls in the aqua blue Caribbean waters and soaked up the sun in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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