USS RENTZ, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors and an embarked U.S. Coast Guard Legal Detachment aboard the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Rentz (FFG 46) arrived in U.S. 4th Fleet's area of operations Aug. 7 to join the multinational and interagency fight against transnational organized crime as part of Operation Martillo.
Operation Martillo (Spanish for 'hammer') is a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere partner nation mission headed by Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) currently conducting Counter Transnational Organized Crime (C-TOC) operations to patrol the coastal regions from Colombia to Mexico to detect and apprehend illicit traffic to include drugs, weapons, drug money and human smuggling.
This is not the ship's first deployment to 4th Fleet. Rentz supported counter drug ops in 2011.
"We welcome the men and women of Rentz to 4th Fleet and are eager to get them busy conducting counter transnational organized crime operations and supporting the Joint Interagency Forces South's Operation Martillo," said Rear Adm. Sinclair Harris, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F). "Rentz is not a new comer to the region or to the counter drug mission and we welcome the experience and energy she is bringing to 4th Fleet."
The Operation Martillo team on Rentz includes an interagency partnership with the ship's Visit, Board, Search and Seizure team, U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Team, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Rentz is also supported by Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 49 (HSL-49), Det. 5.
"Our crew has trained long and hard in preparation for the counter-transnational organized crime operations ongoing in the areas commanded by the U.S. Navy's Fourth Fleet and U.S. Southern Command," said Cmdr. Lance Lantier, commanding officer of Rentz. "We are pleased to assist our brothers and sisters in law enforcement with stemming the flow of illicit narcotics from entering our shores and reaching our nation's communities."
Operation Martillo is a component of the U.S. government's coordinated interagency regional security strategy in support of the White House strategy to combat transnational organized crime and the U.S. Central America Regional Security Initiative.
Fourteen countries are participating in Martillo: Belize, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. Chile has also contributed to the operation.
While on deployment to 4th Fleet, Rentz will also participate in the annual multinational UNITAS maritime exercise taking place in the Southern Caribbean Sea off the coast of Colombia from Sept. 7-14. UNITAS is the largest and longest ongoing maritime exercise in the region and is hosted by the Colombian Navy this year and will include naval and coast guard forces from 15 partner nations. Last year the exercise was hosted by 4th Fleet in Key West.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.