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1st Navy anti-drug tour since cuts

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1st Navy anti-drug tour since cuts

Mensaje por Invitado el Julio 14th 2013, 11:46

The San Diego-based frigate Rentz will head south later this month for the first anti-drug deployment to South America since defense budget cuts canceled three missions earlier this spring.

Back in March, as the sequestration cuts kicked in, the Navy recalled the frigate Thach from South America and scratched plans to send out the Rentz and the fast-attack submarine Jefferson City, all from San Diego.

“This is the first ship to return to theater since Thach was recalled,” said Lt. Cmdr. Corey Barker, spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Fourth Fleet, headquartered outside of Jacksonville, Fla. “We’ve had no ships deployed.”

During that time, Barker said the anti-drug effort relied heavily on South American nations and the U.S. Coast Guard, which also sends cutters to the region.

U.S. Navy P-3 Orion aircraft out of El Salvador conducted patrol flights, but their flying time was also cut in half by sequestration, Barker said.

Now, the Rentz will take part in Operation Martillo – Spanish for hammer – an ongoing counter-drug mission that includes Colombia, Peru and other South American nations. The frigate’s deployment is expected to last six or seven months.

The Rentz is filling the deployment originally planned for the Washington state-based frigate Ingraham. The Ingraham will do a South America tour in fiscal 2014, according to the Navy's Third Fleet in San Diego.



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