Coast Guard Cutter Valiant crew returns to homeport following 5-week Florida Straits patrol

The Coast Guard Cutter Valiant patrols the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. U.S Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 3rd Class NyxoLyno CangemiJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Valiant returned Friday to their homeport at Naval Station Mayport following a 34-day patrol.

During their deployment to the Florida Straits, the Valiant crew rescued, cared for and repatriated 307 Cuban migrants attempting to enter the United States.

“Searching for migrants at sea can be a challenging task,” said Lt. Katherine Ustler, the Valiant’s operations officer. “One group of migrants flagged us down in the middle of the night by flashing a light and waving their hands at us. The vessels they use are unsafe and rarely include lifesaving or navigation equipment.”

The patrol also included a port call in Key West, where crewmembers volunteered to aid in the preservation of the Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Maritime Museum ship. Valiant crewmembers conducted multiple training exercises including helicopter operations training to help sharpen crew skills.

“I am proud of the hard work and dedication the Valiant crew put in during this deployment,” said Cmdr. Timothy Cronin, commanding officer of the Cutter Valiant. “Their commitment to duty and protecting their nation helped ensure the success of our mission. We will continue to help secure our borders, but saving lives will always remain the Coast Guard’s top priority.”

The Valiant is a multi-mission 210-foot Medium-Endurance Cutter. Missions include search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection, homeland security and national defense operations.

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