The frigate Gary is going out with a bang. It returned Friday to San Diego from its final deployment, a 7-month cruise that made headlines for the huge drug busts off Central America's west coast.
The Gary, along with U.S. Coast Guard cutters and vessels from regional partners, nabbed 13,921 kilograms of cocaine, a huge haul valued at $278 million, 3rd Fleet said in a news release Friday.
"This has been a very successful deployment in many regards, a deployment I would refer to as a 'strong finish' for the last remaining west coast frigate in the fleet," said Cmdr. Steven McDowell, the frigate's skipper, in the release. "When we departed for this deployment our intent was to make a difference and we did."
The release said the ship's embarked helicopter detachment, from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 49, flew more than 700 hours during the deployment. It also marked the last active-duty deployment of the SH-60B Seahawk.
"Our embarked helicopters bring a tremendous capability to the ship, but only through the phenomenal teamwork between the Sailors of Gary and of HSM-49 does that capability really pay dividends," said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Gzybowski, officer in charge of the detachment, according to the release.
The frigate is slated to be inactivated in August and will be prepared for sail to a foreign military, according to the Navy's inactivation schedule.