The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Sioux City (LCS 11) returned to its homeport of Naval Station Mayport, Dec. 17, 2021, after completing its deployment to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility. Sioux City, with the assistance of the embarked U.S. Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 102, disrupted approximately 3,360 kilograms of cocaine, which has an estimated street value of over $235 million. Fourteen suspected drug traffickers were removed from the narcotics trade throughout the mission. Sioux City (Gold Crew), along with the “Sea Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, Detachment 4, deployed on Sept. 7, 2021, in support of U.S. Southern Command and Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter-illicit drug trafficking missions in the Caribbean.
Throughout the deployment, Sioux City partnered with other U.S. Navy ships, as well as numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security, in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. Throughout its deployment, Sioux City traveled over 14,000 nautical miles and visited four different ports, including San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sioux City was the first littoral combat ship to visit San Juan, establishing positive ties with the people of San Juan and paving the way for more littoral combat ships to visit in the future.
“This team set out to make deployment great, and we succeeded,” said Cmdr. Brad Tonder, commanding officer of Sioux City. “We executed our mission, seizing or disrupting the flow of over $230M in narcotics. We trained and increased interoperability with our partner nations and normalized LCS capabilities by operating the ship as we do in our simulators. USS Sioux City is an extremely capable platform, and our Sailors are the best in the Fleet. I could not be more proud of this ship and crew.”
“Visiting historical sites that represent little-known parts of American history, while forming great bonds with locals, was amazing, and I hope more Sailors will get to have a similar experience in the future,” said Culinary Specialist Seaman Mya Howard.
Sioux City also had the honor of conducting a 21-gun salute in honor of Statia Day, a national holiday celebrated on the Caribbean island of Sint Eustatius. The holiday celebrates the “first salute” when Sint Eustatius, locally known as Statia, became the first country to recognize the United States as a nation 245 years ago when after the U.S. declared independence, a Continental Navy ship fired a gun salute upon entering the harbor, and the island, by order of the Dutch governor, returned the salute. The ship also conducted a bilateral maritime interdiction exercise with the Dominican Republic to strengthen partnerships and build interoperability between forces. 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 to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.