The last Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate deployment ended on Sunday when USS Kauffman (FFG-59) returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Va. following six months in U.S. Southern Command.
The ship was part of SOUTHCOM’s ongoing counter trafficking effort — Operation Martillo — in the Caribbean and the Eastern Pacific Ocean
“The Kauffman crew performed remarkably during the deployment,” said Cmdr. Michael Concannon, Kauffman’s commanding officer said in a statement.
“Not only did they work incredibly hard and were extremely successful interdicting, disrupting or recovering more than 14,000 kilograms of narcotics destined for the United States, but they were excellent ambassadors as they volunteered many hours helping people in need that we were able to meet during our time away from home.”
Kauffman interdicted 13 smuggling vessels — along with a law enforcement detachment (LEDET) from the U.S. Coast Guard and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light Squadron (HSL) 60.
Kauffman’s return marks the operational end of the Perrys which after more than 30-years of operations are set to be replaced by the emerging two-classes of the Littoral Combat Ship and the service’s planned upgunned frigate design.
The ship will remain in port until its planned decommissioning in September and will be put up for foreign military sale (FMS).
Now the U.S. Coast Guard will undertake the bulk of the counter trafficking operations in SOUTHCOM pending the inclusion of more LCSes into the fleet as well as the Navy’s Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV).