SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The guided-missile frigate USS Gary returned home to San Diego Friday morning following a nearly seven-month deployment to Central America.
The voyage was the final one for the Gary, which will be decommissioned, and the last one for a frigate on the West Coast. The Navy is phasing out the type of ship in favor of the new littoral combat ships -- vessels designed for fighting in coastal waters.
The crew members of the Gary, along with a detachment from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 49 and a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement team, conducted anti-drug trafficking missions. The helicopter detachment returned to NAS North Island Thursday.
"This has been a very successful deployment in many regards, a deployment I would refer to as a strong finish for the last remaining West
Coast frigate in the fleet,' said Cmdr. Steven McDowell, Gary's commanding officer. "When we departed for this deployment our intent was to make a difference and we did."
The Gary intercepted 13,921 kilograms of cocaine, with a wholesale value of $278.4 million, along with 18 pounds of marijuana, valued at $17,100, according to the Navy.
The ship is named for Donald Arthur Gary, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for helping to rescue hundreds of sailors trapped below decks when the aircraft carrier USS Franklin was badly damaged after being bombed off the coast of Japan in March 1945.