USS Kauffman, At Sea (NNS) -- The guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG-59); Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 42 (HSL-42), Detachment 7; and the U.S. Coast Guard completed maritime interdiction operations focusing on the interruption of narco-terrorist activities in Caribbean waters Aug. 24 - Sept. 13.
Sailors and Coast Guardsmen on board Kauffman worked closely with Joint Interagency Task Force South (JAITF-South) to conduct counter illicit trafficking operations. JAITF-South is a multi-service, multi-agency joint task force of the U.S. armed forces and was established in 1989 to promote security cooperation and coordinate country team and partner nation initiatives to defeat the flow of illicit traffic.
Kauffman Operations Officer Lt. James Wright said the tasking focused directly on that mission and helped protect partner nations as well as the United States.
"The tasking here focused on the interdiction and interruption of narco-trafficking," said Wright. "Many partner nations in the Caribbean suffer from the effects of narco-trafficking."
HSL-42, Det. 7 played a key role throughout the operations. Lt. Cmdr. Brian Reardon, the HSL-42, Det. 7 officer in charge (OIC), said his Sailors have worked day and night in support of counter narco-terrorism (CNT) operations.
"Our guys have been flying two or three, three-hour flights per day in support of CNT operations," said Reardon. "We use our sensor suite to provide a complete nautical picture up to 150 nautical miles away from Kauffman. Once targets are detected on radar we are able to visually identify them, even at night, using forward looking infra red (FLIR) camera and night vision devices."
Reardon added that the greatest challenge and success that HSL-42, Det. 7 faced during the operations was the maintenance and logistics needed to operated in the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Area of Focus (AOF).
"The 16 enlisted maintainers that we deploy with have done an outstanding job keeping our aircraft, Proud Warrior 426, ready to fly while working in very hot and challenging conditions," said Reardon.
"CNT operations have been a great opportunity for us to showcase the unique capabilities that a light airborne multi purpose system (LAMPS) helicopter detachment brings to the table," said Reardon. "This taste of "real world" operations shows that when working together with its host ship, a LAMPS helicopter is a force multiplier that is vital to CNT operations."
USS Kauffman and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 42 are assigned to Task Group 40.0, and are currently deployed along with USS Farragut (DDG-99) in support of Partnership of the Americas 2008 (POA 08). Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40 Commodore, Capt. Rudy Laco, who commands Task Group 40.0, said that the Sailors on board Kauffman made the POA vision a reality.
"The interoperability and the success of the interdiction operations were just what we envisioned when we planned for Partnership of the Americas," said Laco. "As with any operation at sea, it's the Sailors on board who take our vision and turn it into visible and impacting results."
POA 08 operations are being held from April to October throughout South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. POA 08 emphasizes interoperability and cooperation between U.S. and partner nation's maritime forces through a variety of exercises and events.
For more news from Partnership of the Americas, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns.