After having my watch team plot the RDVU in our Combat System Suite, away we go, I had the watch and yelled up to the bridge on the 21MC, (aka The Bitch Box) Alter course to 010, Flank Speed. There are many things I miss from my time at sea, one of them is the rolling of the ship, the power that LM2500 Gas Turbine engines whining up to max power and pushing the ship to flank speed, and of course the jet noise, it can be deafning.
As the trip goes on, I'm off watch and in the Mess. Then it starts, where are we going?, what's going on?, Are we going to get a bust? This always happens just as I sit down to eat a meal. Really, I have been on watch for 6 hours in a stress-full environment and I get this. So they keep on, and I look up at them and just eat. Well they finally give up and all go back to the lounge to watch movies. As I finish my meal and the "Mess Crank" or the politically correct name "Food Service Attendent" takes my plate to the scullary, I get up and go tell them all so they wont bother me anymore. After a few minutes of talking and BS'ing, I head back up.
One thing about me that was known onboard any ship I was on is the fact that I did not, nor would not sit on my ass in the Mess. My place was with my guys, providing them with training and guidance to better themselves in their jobs and for them to succeed. I could have sat down in the Mess, I did have 6 First Classes (E-6) (Chief's in Training) out of the 23 guys, which last year another one put on his anchors (4 out of 6). As the night goes on, I hang out up there until we RDVU with the HITRON. These Coasties are pretty damn good, and I dont commend Puddle Pirates too much but, having the ability to shoot a Barrett 50 cal sniper rifle from a helo, at a small high-speed moving target, bouncing around in the ocean and taking out their outboard engines, quite impressive. Well at this point I have had enough and head down for a nap and leave my guys a wake-up call for me so I can be there in the morning when SHTF.
Morning comes, very dark outside, we go to Flight-Quarters for launch of the HITRON. They are Airborne and out in front of us heading to intercept. They gain contact of the go-fast who was going slow, until you know who shows up. It takes off and they run like they stole it. One advantage we had that day was the seas were not good. So after about 15 mins, they are DIW (Dead in the Water)
HITRON Taking action
One of the recovered engine covers
Now that the Go-fast is just floating, we launch our RHIB boat with the Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment to board the speed-boat, as HITRON provides overhead support and we roll up alongside with Ma' Deuce's trained on them. This evolution took almost the whole day to arrest the crew members, recover the bails of 99% pure Cocaine, and provide necessary reports back to JIATF. One important issue when dealing with these drug runnners, the Cartels will boobie-trap these go-fasts with many contraptions, and with large amounts of fuel onboard, this can be a very dangerous position to be in so this was main reason of why it took all day.
As the boarding was finishing up and the nature of the catch, our CO made the call, "We will not tow this boat or leave it here, so I consider it a Navigation hazard". Prior to us leaving for our deployment, we had a new CIWS installed, which now has the capability to be used in Surface mode using IR and Optical.
So we set HERO condition to upload the CIWS with its shredding 20mm Tungstun rounds and have some fun.
BTW, we also had the prize too.
Estimated at $91,000,000 (2005 figures)
Enjoy the remainder of your Labor Day Weekend.