HONOLULU – The Coast Guard Cutter Rush is scheduled to return home to Honolulu, from an 83-day deployment Sunday.
The Rush departed Sept. 30 for Mexico to participate in the North American Maritime Security Initiative Pacific Exercise. This full scale exercise coordinated the capabilities between Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. Forces to plan and execute a combined response to a maritime security threat.
To enhance counter-narcotic detection and interdiction capabilities, Rush embarked an aviation detachment from Coast Guard’s Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron based in Jacksonville, Fla. In support of the counter-narcotics mission, armed helicopters intercept suspect vessels, use appropriate force to stop these vessels, and vector the cutter and cutter-launched interceptor boats to the scene for apprehension.
During one interdiction, the helicopter employed warning shots and disabling fire to stop a suspected go-fast vessel. The cutter and two of its smaller cutter boats arrived on scene to conduct a boarding, which resulted in the seizure of cocaine and detention of suspected smugglers.
The Rush’s counter-drug operations, in support of Operation Martillo, prevented more than 1,700 kilograms of cocaine worth approximately $60 million wholesale value from reaching the United States.
“This deployment was challenging and rewarding for the crew as they successfully tackled the counter-narcotic law enforcement mission in an unfamiliar operational area,” said Capt. Diane Durham, Coast Guard Cutter Rush commanding officer. “I am proud of our interdictions and the hard work of the crew.”
Rush is a 378-foot high endurance cutter, has a range of 12,000 nautical miles, and a permanent crew of 160 personnel. High endurance cutters like Rush are built for multi-week offshore patrols including operations requiring enhanced communications and helicopter and pursuit boat operations, which provide a key capability for homeland security missions at sea.
Operation Martillo is an international operation focused on sharing information and bringing together air, land, and maritime assets from the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Western Hemisphere and European partner nation agencies to counter illicit trafficking.
Overall coordination of counter-drug patrols and surveillance in the Eastern Pacific is done by Joint Interagency Task Force South headquartered in Key West, Fla., U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations in the area occurs under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, Calif.