Cutter Confidence to Return to Port Canaveral

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla.- A local Coast Guard cutter will return to Cape Canaveral Thursday at 8 a.m. following a six week deep Caribbean Sea counter drug patrol throughout the recent holiday season.

The Coast Guard Cutter Confidence began this deep Caribbean counter-drug patrol by conducting training with several other Coast Guard units to hone the skills of its crew. Members from Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team South from Miami visited the cutter immediately prior to this deployment to provide in-depth drug interdiction training. Crew members received detailed briefs and hands-on training to train them in the latest tactics used to counter drug smuggling in the deep Caribbean area of operations.

The crew also conducted airborne use of force training with the Jacksonville-based Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron for two days in Key West, Fla., and the Florida Straits. Confidence is the first Florida-based Reliance Class Cutter to successfully complete this training and earn airborne use of force certification since the program’s inception in 1998.

Following this training, Confidence sailed to the Western Caribbean and patrolled off the coast of Central America with embarked law enforcement officials from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama conducting half a dozen law enforcement boardings. The cutter also participated in a search and rescue case off of the Honduras coast responding to a medical emergency aboard a fishing vessel.

During a visit to Cartagena, Colombia, more than 40 crewmembers, along with sailors from the Colombian Navy and volunteers from the U.S. Agency for International Development, helped paint the Institucion Educativa Tecnica de la Boquilla Sede San Felipe – an elementary school. The school educates more than 400 children in the poverty-stricken village of San Felipe. The experience left an indelible impression on many of the participants, who were greeted by hundreds of singing and cheering students when they arrived.

“Painting with the kids was a very humbling experience, and I hope I can do it again. I didn’t expect to have an opportunity to affect so many people this early in my Coast Guard career,” Seaman Daniel Gomez, who was on his first patrol aboard the Confidence.

Confidence crewmembers celebrated Christmas and New Year’s holidays at sea this year with gifts and holiday cards provided by the Cape Canaveral Council of the Navy League, the USO, the Girl Scouts, Soldiers Angels, elementary school students from Montclair, Va., and Titusville, Fla., and many family members and friends.

Confidence is a 210-foot medium endurance Coast Guard cutter with a crew of 80.

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