USS Ford Returns from Deployment
The Oliver Hazard Perry class guided-missile frigate, USS Ford (FFG 54), returned to Everett Oct. 20 after an independent six-month deployment to the 4th Fleet area of responsibility in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. “It was a long six months and I know that I speak for the entire crew when I say it’s just great to be home,” said Ensign Julien Geiser, Ford legal officer. Ford and crew first made a stop in Lima, Peru to participate in Peruvian Passex, part of the 4th Fleet’s “Partnership of the Americas”, a series of events held annually to further diplomatic and military cooperation between South American nations and their neighbors to the north.
Ford next sailed further south to participate in an event hosted each year by the Chilean Navy, “Team Work South”. Along with a dozen ships from Chile, Brazil, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Ford performed combined naval operations, which included anti-submarine warfare exercises, coordinated defense against surface littoral threats, surface gunnery exercises and other training events. The successful operational integration of five different types of helicopters from various nations was a significant accomplishment that contributed to the ongoing theater security cooperation efforts between the U.S. and coalition Navies. During the two-week exercise, Ford crew members were also involved in several community relations events in Mejillones and Iquique, Chile.
Following the completion of their commitments to multi-national exercises, the Ford changed its mission and launched itself into counter illicit trafficking operations. In addition to the assistance and resolution of numerous search and rescue cases, the crew was responsible for the interception and disruption of the trafficking of more than $425 million of cocaine. The apprehension of two self propelled semi-submersible vessels, a new tool often successfully used by drug smugglers, was one the more significant and exciting parts of her contribution to the war on drugs.
“The ship and crew have surpassed and exceeded the expectations that I had when I first met them in Panama,” said Cmdr. Cord Luby, Ford commanding officer who took command of the frigate in late August. “The crew’s commitment to their mission and the strength of character with which they approach each obstacle presented to them is inspiring.” “This ship has completed five extremely successful deployments in the past five years and each has improved upon the last. Never before have I been prouder to count myself as a member of any crew,” Luby added. “I was exited to be on board and be welcomed back to the great Pacific Northwest.”