Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rodney M. Davis Seizes, Disrupts Tons of Narcotics, Returns to Homeport

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Quinn Liford, Naval Station Everett Public Affairs

USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) returned to the ship's homeport at Naval Station Everett April 21 following a six-month deployment in the East Pacific in support of counter narco-terrorism.

The ship and crew were welcomed home to the Pacific Northwest with cheers and tears from loved ones awaiting their arrival on the pier.

"This is our first homecoming together," said Kerra Rausch, wife of Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW/AW) Jason Rausch. "I really couldn't be more excited right now, this is just amazing. At our last homecoming meeting the drawing for first kiss came up and I almost couldn't believe it, I never win anything!"

The Davis and crew completed their mission, seizing six tons of cocaine and 160 pounds of marijuana, as well as disrupting 18 tons of cocaine and three tons of marijuana shipments. Although this type of deployment may seem different from the ship's primary mission, it is actually a common one within the frigate community.

Global reach from frigates completing this type of mission has proven to have positive effects for multinational relationships as well as national defense by slowing the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.

According to Ensign Tamara Szymanski, one of the most significant accomplishments of the ship and crew was the interdiction of two self-propelled semi-submersible vessels and two fishing vessels, each loaded with contraband.

Crew members also made great strides with community involvement in several of the ports they visited. The crew visited Casita de Mausi, Aldeas Infantiles SOS, as well as Escuela de los Estados Unidos, all in Panama.

"We have made every effort to do community relations projects, in conjunction with Project Handclasp, every time we pull into port," said Szymanski. "The house mothers cooked us all lunch and we got to spend time with the kids," she said of the orphanage visits.

From painting a school in Puerta Vallarta to orphanage visits to distribute basic hygiene products in Peru, the crew members of Rodney M. Davis set out to make improvements wherever they could.

The ship is an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate and is named after U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Rodney M. Davis. The ship's namesake was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Vietnam War. Commissioned May 9, 1987, Rodney M. Davis has been home ported in Everett since 2005.