USS THACH, At Sea - The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Thach (FFG 43) arrived Jan. 20 to the 4th Fleet's Area of Responsibility (AOR) for a scheduled six-month deployment to conduct Operation Martillo.
Thach's crew of 220 Sailors and embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Team (LEDET) will conduct Counter Transnational Organized Crime (C-TOC) operations designed to improve maritime stability within the region and protect free use of the sea lanes by thwarting the activities of drug traffickers and criminal organizations.
"The men and women on Thach have a fine reputation and will be instrumental in our ongoing efforts to disrupt criminal organizations from trafficking illicit contraband to and from our nation," Commander, U.S. 4th Fleet, Rear Adm. Sinclair Harris, said. "We are pleased they are part of the fleet and Operation Martillo.
The Operation Martillo team on Thach includes an interagency partnership with the ship's Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) team, U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Thach will also be supported by an embarked helicopter detachment, HSL-49, Det. 2 based at Naval Air Station North Island.
"We are really excited to go down to Central America and do our part," said Cmdr. Hans Lynch, commanding officer of Thach. "The crew is anxious to put all their hard training to good use."
Operation Martillo (Spanish for 'hammer') is a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. U.S. military participation is being led by Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a component of U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). Operation Martillo is a component of the U.S. government's coordinated interagency regional security strategy in support of the White House strategy to combat transnational organized crime and the U.S. Central America Regional Security Initiative.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet supports USSOUTHCOM joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.