Coast Guard Cutter Valiant Returns from 52 Day Patrol

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The crew of the Miami Beach based Coast Guard Cutter Valiant is scheduled to reunite with family and friends Saturday as the cutter returns from a 52-day deployment to the Windward Passage and the Florida Straits, during which more than 400 migrants crossed the decks of Valiant.

Valiant crewmembers saved 10 lives Oct. 7, when they rescued 10 stranded Cuban migrants from Cosgrove Shoal Light, near Marquesas Rocks, Fla. The migrants had been there for more than two days before Valiant crewmembers observed the migrants’ S.O.S. distress signal.

On Sept. 6, Valiant crewmembers, assisted by an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., rescued 71 Haitian migrants from a dangerously overloaded sailing vessel. The rescue effort lasted 14 hours during which 71 migrants were brought aboard Valiant, while another 40 migrants remained aboard the sailing vessel and were escorted to Haiti by the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant.

The Valiant crew was directly involved in the repatriation of 254 Cuban migrants in five separate evolutions. Valiant also interdicted, or assisted in the interdiction of, 23 suspected migrant smugglers. The smugglers were all transferred to the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

The 210-foot Valiant is commanded by Cmdr. David S. Fiedler and has a crew of 75 men and women. Commissioned in 1967, Valiant has deployed in support of Operation Able Sentry and the Mariel Boat Lift. In the past year Valiant has patrolled from the Gulf of Mexico to the far reaches of the eastern Caribbean, conducting the Coast Guard’s missions of search and rescue, protection of living marine resources and homeland security.

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