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USS Halyburton Returns from Deployment

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS140605-07
Release Date: 6/5/2014 9:43:00 AM

By Lt. j.g. Stephanie Santarelli, USS Halyburton Public Affairs

MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Guided-missile frigate USS Halyburton (FFG 40) returned to Mayport June 4 from a five-month deployment to U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations (AOR).

Deployed since Jan. 15, the officers and crew of Halyburton, in conjunction with Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 46 and U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachments, disrupted nine shipments of cocaine, totaling 1899 kilograms, in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Central and South America as part of Operation Martillo.

On Feb. 6, Halyburton assumed the role of search and rescue on-scene commander during the rescue of six Panamanians after a Panamanian navy helicopter crash-landed while monitoring an area of dense jungle terrain near where drug smugglers had beached their vessel.

'Deploying to the Caribbean in support of Operation Martillo for the ship's final deployment has been an honor,' said Command Master Chief Lee Friedlander, Halyburton. 'It is extremely satisfying to see the culmination of all our hard work, maintenance, and training resulting in a dedicated team of professionals willing and ready to carry out the mission at a moment's notice.'

Launched in January 2012, Operation Martillo targets illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus, and is an international, interagency operation which includes the participation of 14 countries committed to a regional approach against transnational criminal organizations moving illicit cargo.

Overall coordination of counter-narcotics patrols and surveillance in the Caribbean Sea is done by an interagency joint task force based in Florida. U.S. law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations occur under the tactical control and authority of the 7th Coast Guard District, headquartered in Miami, Florida.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

While deployed in the 4th Fleet AOR, Halyburton completed port visits to Columbia, Honduras, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay and Aruba, enhancing relations with each of these countries while affording the crew the opportunity to explore their culture and history.

'The ship and crew have performed well and I am extremely proud of our accomplishments,' said Cmdr. David Fowler, Halyburton commanding officer. 'Aside from our many mission successes, we qualified six surface warfare officers, 81 Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialists and promoted 13 of the 30 eligible candidates that took the Navy Wide Advancement Exams in March. Well done shipmates, I am very proud of each and every one of you.'

The ship is named for Pharmacist's Mate 2nd Class William David Halyburton, Jr. who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism while embedded with a U.S. Marine Corps Battalion fighting on the island of Okinawa during the U.S. 'island hopping' campaign of World War II.

Halyburton is the 34th ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class of guided-missile frigates. Commissioned on January 7, 1984, the ship has completed more than 30 years of service and is currently the second oldest frigate in the U.S. Navy, behind the esteemed USS Constitution.

Upon return to homeport, the ship is set to start the decommissioning process. She is expected to decommission later this year.

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