USS Elrod and Coast Guard team rescue four people at sea

USS ELROD, At Sea – Norfolk, Va., based frigate USS Elrod (FFG-55) and its embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment rescued four people from a sinking small boat while on patrol in the Caribbean Sea in support of Operation Martillo, Tuesday.

The Elrod received a call from a maritime patrol aircraft after spotting a partially submerged vessel. The ship made best speed to investigate and located four survivors, clinging onto the bow of the damaged boat.

A rigid-hulled inflatable boat manned by a Navy Crew and Coast Guard boarding team was deployed to pick up the stranded survivors. One of the four survivors was lapsing in and out of consciousness.

“We came at the right time,” said Cmdr. Jack Killman, USS Elrod Commanding Officer. “I am not sure these people would have lasted much longer.”

A Navy Corpsmen provided initial medical treatment.

Two survivors were flown to a hospital in Colombia for further medical care via helicopter from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 60.

“All in all, team Elrod did a remarkable job; from watch standers reacting at a moment’s notice, to coordinating a medevac transfer to Colombia,” said Killman.

The team effort by the crew of Elrod and its Coast GUARD LEDET succeeded in saving the lives of the distressed mariners.

“We’re very proud of our LEDET aboard the Elrod,” said Cmdr. Robert Landolfi, Tactical Law Enforcement Team South’s commanding officer. “The Coast Guard ‘s strong partnership with the U.S. Navy allows us to globally respond to the dangers at sea, get the job done right and save lives.”

Elrod is currently conducting counter transnational organized crime operations as part of Operation Martillo targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. U.S. military participation is being led by Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a component of U.S. Southern Command.

TACLETs and their LEDETs are an armed deployable specialized force under the U.S. Coast Guard’s Deployable Operations Group. They were created to support narcotics interdiction operations aboard U.S. Navy and allied warships and are capable of supporting Department of Defense national defense operations. LEDETs provide specialized law enforcement capability and maritime security capabilities to enforce U.S. laws across a full spectrum of maritime response situations, maritime security augmentation and maritime interdiction anti-piracy operations.

Operation Martillo is a component of the U.S. government’s coordinated interagency regional security strategy in support of the White House strategy to combat transnational organized crime and the U.S. Central America Regional Security Initiative.

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