The USS Preble, a destroyer based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, returned home Thursday from a counter narcotics deployment it began in March. The deployment began the same month that the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
“We took all available precautions before the start of the deployment,” Preble’s executive officer Cmdr. Peter Lesaca said in a press release. “I credit our Sailors for understanding the gravity of the pandemic, keeping themselves in good health, and taking care of their shipmates to keep the ship safe.”
U.S. Navy Region Hawaii spokeswoman Lydia Roberston told Civil Beat that the crew quarantined off shore for 14 days before returning to port.
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Thursday after the ship’s surge deployment to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations.
Jaimar Carson Bondurant/U.S. Navy
Usually assigned to operations in the Pacific, the Preble was on a surge deployment in support of the Florida-based 4th Fleet along with the Helicopter Maritime Squadron 37 based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
The Preble and HSM 37 joined a massive interagency task force that included the Coast Guard, U.S. Border Patrol, FBI, DEA, and ICE, along with several foreign military and law enforcement agencies cooperating on tracking transnational crime in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.
During the deployment Preble and an embarked detachment of Coast Guard members seized an estimated 2,000 kilograms of cocaine, which authorities estimated to have a wholesale value of $40 million.
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Kevin Knodell covers the military and veterans in Hawaii and the greater Pacific for Civil Beat as a corps member for Report For America, a national nonprofit that places journalists in local news rooms.