Friday, November 10, 2006

HSL-49 Completes Counter-Narcotics Deployment

From the Navy Newstand:

HSL-49 Completes Counter-Narcotics Deployment
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Daniel A. Barker, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 returned to Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., Oct. 27 from a successful six-month counter-narco terrorism (CNT) deployment aboard USS Curts (FFG 38).

Suppporting U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO) on the deployment, HSL-49, Curts and Coast Guardsmen worked together to interrupt the drug supply as close to its source as feasible.

“Our primary mission was to detect and monitor drug smuggling vessels,” said Lt. Cmdr. Pete Collins, officer-in-charge of HSL-49, Det. 2. “We integrated with Curts and the U.S. Coast Guard to locate, identify and query these boats for boarding and search by our Coast Guard law enforcement team.”

“Our goal is to interdict the flow of drugs on the high seas as far from the U.S. borders as possible,” said Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Greg Rogers.

The most successful counter drug operation of this deployment resulted in the capture and transfer of personnel and 8.5 metric tons of cocaine, which has an estimated street value of $850 million.

HSL-49, Det. 2 also flew two injured detainees ashore for medical treatment, conducted a search for 10 fishermen whose boat had capsized, and transported a Sailor ashore for emergency leave.

“None of us had gone on a counter-narcotics or terrorism deployment before,” said Collins. "But we set out with three goals: make sure we all come back safely, with all digits attached. We accomplished that. Do the operations; we accomplished that. Also, meet our personal goals for training and excellence... we accomplished that as well.”For more information on HSL 49, go to