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USS Sioux City returns home after exercises, drug interdictions

The littoral combat ship USS Sioux City returned to Naval Station Mayport, Fla., after exercises, humanitarian efforts and drug interdictions in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy 
The littoral combat ship USS Sioux City returned to Naval Station Mayport, Fla., after exercises, humanitarian efforts and drug interdictions in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy 

Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The littoral combat ship USS Sioux City returned home, the Navy said Friday, after a deployment of over three months in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean.

The ship, commissioned in 2018, was deployed on Aug. 30 from its homeport of Naval Station Mayport, Fla., to the Navy's 4th Fleet, where it participated in a multilateral interoperability exercise with the British Royal Navy's HMS Medway and the Jamaican Coast Guard Cutter HMJS Nanny of the Maroons.

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With U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 104, the USS Sioux City intercepted about 2,120 kilograms of cocaine, conducted a medical evacuation for a tanker in distress and delivered over 36,000 pounds of supplies for hurricane assistance and disaster relief in Honduras, the Navy said in a statement Friday.

The Freedom-class littoral combat ship, noted for its capability to operate in shallow water, typically carries an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter and an MQ-88 unmanned aerial vehicle.

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During the deployment the ship traveled approximately14, 000 nautical miles, visited six ports, and launched its aircraft 304 times, the statement added.

The deployment came after then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper directed the U.S. Southern Command to conduct an enhanced counternarcotics effort in the area.

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The program involves 22 nations and 16 federal agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the FBI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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"The success of this deployment is a direct reflection of the hard work that the Sioux City sailors have put in over the past nine months," said Cmdr. Dan Reiher, the USS Sioux City's commanding officer. "This deployment gives a new meaning to our motto of 'Forging a New Frontier," because we have begun to define the capabilities of Sioux City and littoral combat ships as a whole."

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