USS New Orleans Aids Vessel in Distress, Recovers Suspected Contraband
USS New Orleans (LPD 18) responded to a distress call during its pre-deployment exercise leading to the capture of more than 1,800 lbs. of alleged contraband Aug. 20, off the coast of San Diego.
New Orleans was scheduled to perform an underway replenishment with USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and the military sealift command replenishment oiler USNS Yukon when a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter notified the New Orleans of a vessel in distress.
While making best speed, New Orleans received word of possible dumping of suspected contraband from the vessel.
Upon arrival, New Orleans Sailors conducted rescue and recovery operations using rigid-hulled inflatable boats to assist the stranded personnel while an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter from HSC 23, embarked on Makin Island, flew overhead to aid in recovery of floating objects from the 20-foot fishing boat.
In addition to Navy personnel involved in the operation, Coast Guard cutter Petrel and 2 small craft from the Mexican Navy arrived. New Orleans crew turned over the suspected contraband to the U.S. Coast Guard and the Mexican Navy took custody of the rescued mariners.
Cmdr. Dennis Jacko, commanding officer, USS New Orleans, said flexibility and interoperability between the Navy and Coast Guard is key to the success in future missions.
"The crew of New Orleans did a fantastic job of changing missions quickly, arriving on scene, and rapidly getting our boats in the water to render assistance," he said. "Coordinating our efforts with the US Coast Guard was seamless, and resulted not only in the rescue of stranded personnel at sea, but the recovery of a substantial amount of dangerous drugs headed to the United States. "
New Orleans, along with embarked Marines assigned to the 11th MEU, are conducting Amphibious Squadron -MEU Integrated Training (PMINT) as part of Makin Island Amphibious Readiness Group.
New Orleans is a San Antonio-class transport dock ship designed and built to fight. Its war-fighting capabilities include a state-of-the-art command and control suite, substantially increased vehicle lift capacity, a large flight deck, and advanced ship survivability features that enhance its ability to operate in the unforgiving littoral environment.
Article by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dominique Pineiro, Amphibious Squadron 5 Public Affairs