July 1, 2020 —
MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Southern Command, Adm. Craig S. Faller visited U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (USNAVSO)/U.S. 4th Fleet headquarters onboard Naval Station Mayport June 26.
Following all COVID-19 social distancing directives, Faller addressed the crews of USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS Farragut (DDG 99) and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 60 (HSM 60), who recently returned from a nine-month deployment as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG). The deployment included conducting maritime security operations and enhanced counter-narcotics missions in U.S. Southern Command area of operations.
“While on patrol they (Lassen and Farragut) were working on our enhanced counter-narcotics mission, conducting important detection and monitoring operations and really putting pressure on the enemy,” said Faller, who explained that the enemy was transnational criminal organizations. “They are killing 70,000 people a year with the cocaine they traffic, and these ships put pressure on them, and they took drugs off the streets, and they saved lives.”
Faller then spent time with members of USNAVSO/U.S. 4th Fleet currently supporting the operation and SOUTHCOM’s security cooperation in the region. He received updated briefs on intelligence, operations, and held a virtual “all hands” with the staff. Before he took questions, he praised Sailors for their performance for support in enhanced counter narcotics operations as well as a recent exercise with partner nations and freedom of navigation operations.
"U.S. 4th Fleet continues to be a critical force multiplier in the Western Hemisphere,” said Faller. “Efforts like those of U.S. 4th Fleet enhance our operation and gets things done.”
“The Fourth Fleet team continues to grow and contribute,” said Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet. “We’re conducting extensive operations ashore and at sea in this new environment and our entire team remains focused on the mission. Thanks especially to our partners and friends who are out there with us making a difference.”
Today’s visit was the first of several that Faller will conduct with his components in order to receive in-person updates and continue to interact with military members who make up the USSOUTHCOM Team.
U.S. Southern Command is conducting enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs, save lives and support national security objectives.
Numerous U.S. federal agencies, including the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security are collaborating in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.
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