SEATTLE — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, a 378-foot cutter homeported in Seattle, is scheduled to return to Coast Guard Base Seattle after a 75-day counter-narcotics patrol in the eastern Pacific Ocean, Thursday, at 10 a.m.
Members of the media are invited attend the ship’s homecoming at Base Seattle, Pier 36, 1519 Alaskan Way South.
While on patrol in the eastern Pacific in late February, the crew successfully interdicted a 30-foot fishing vessel that was carrying 1,100 pounds of cocaine hidden inside the vessel. Midgett’s boarding team confiscated the drugs, and detained the suspected smugglers.
Midgett’s crew also visited Bahia Malaga, Colombia, for a partnership exercise with the Colombian Navy. The ship hosted the Colombian Navy’s chief of staff, pacific operations commander, and several other senior personnel for a tour of the ship.
Select members of Midgett’s crew toured the semi-submersible museum on base where the Colombian Navy maintains several apprehended semi-submersibles — once used for smuggling drugs, now on display. Midgett’s crew, along with Colombian Navy air and boatcrews, also participated in a joint exercise in which a simulated suspect narcotic trafficking vessel was pursued and detained.
“This professional exchange and exercise served to bolster an already strong working relationship with an important regional partner in the effort to stem the flow of drugs through the Pacific transit zone,” said Capt. Laura Dickey, Midgett’s commanding officer.
After departing Seattle in early January, the 378-foot cutter and 170-member crew first underwent a three-week drill in San Diego that included more than 300 training exercises in navigation, medical response, damage control, engineering, combat systems, seamanship and anti-terrorism force protection. The crew’s successful performance earned them several battle readiness awards as well as certification by shipboard training teams.
Operation Martillo (Spanish for “hammer”) is a U.S., European and Western Hemisphere partner-nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. U.S. military participation is being led by Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) South, a component of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), headquartered in Key West, Fla.
Overall coordination of counter-drug patrols and surveillance in the Eastern Pacific is done by the JIATF South. U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations in the region occur under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, Calif.
Commissioned in 1972, Midgett is one of eight remaining 378-foot High Endurance Cutters. The Midgett’s crew conducts missions in homeland security, search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, and drug and alien migrant interdiction operations from the Bering Sea to Central American waters.
The 41-year-old Midgett and other high endurance cutters are being replaced by eight Legend-class National Security Cutters. NSCs are faster, better equipped, more durable, safer and more efficient than their predecessors, and will allow the Coast Guard to deliver its unique blend of military capability, law enforcement authority and lifesaving expertise wherever needed to protect American interests, today and for decades to come.