Coast Guard Cutter Valiant Returns from Seven Week Patrol

MIAMI – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Valiant, homeported in Miami, returned Friday after a successful and operationally demanding seven-week deployment in the Florida Straits.

Valiant patrolled the Florida Straits in support of Alien Migrant Interdiction and Counter-Drug operations. Valiant saw more than 190 migrants originating from Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica and Guyana cross its decks. Valiant also transferred 13 suspected smugglers over to Customs and Border Protection for investigation.

Valiant diverted from normal operations after receiving a report of a capsized vessel with 10 to 15 people in the water April 9. Valiant, in conjunction with the Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne and the motor vessel Nordic Moon, identified the capsized vessel as a “go-fast” carrying 14 Cuban migrants and one suspected smuggler. Crewmembers rescued the 15 people.

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Cormorant, together with the Valiant, received 25 Haitian migrants, two Jamaican migrants, two Guyanese migrants and one suspected smuggler after their vessel was interdicted off the coast of Lake Worth, Fla.

Once aboard the cutter all migrants were provided food, water, shelter and any necessary medical attention.

The deployment also provided valuable opportunities for the crew of Valiant to sharpen their readiness skills. Valiant conducted two gunnery exercises to ensure excellence in operating the ship’s advanced weapons systems and conducted a multitude of flight operations.

“When we are not actively engaged in counter-drug, search and rescue or migrant interdiction operations, training is one of the most important aspects of shipboard life in the Coast Guard,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Douglas G. Forgione, a member of the weapons division aboard Valiant. “My job is to ensure the weapons are operating efficiently and the Coast Guardsmen who operate them know exactly what to do. We hope we don’t have to use force, but intense training will prepare us for what lies ahead, whatever that may be.”

As Valiant returns to homeport, the crew will be making preparations for its Change of Command, a formal ceremony in which the current Commanding Officer will be relieved by a new Coast Guard Officer. Cmdr. David S. Fiedler will be relieved by Cmdr. AlDante VinciGuerra, as Valiant’s commanding officer. Rear Adm. Steven H. Ratti, Coast Guard Atlantic Area Chief of Staff, will preside over the ceremony.

Valiant is a 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter with a crew compliment of 80 people, commanded by Cmdr. Davis S. Fiedler.

Key Biscayne is an 110-foot patrol boat homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Cormorant is an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Fort Pierce, Fla.

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