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A homecoming for Hamilton

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An estimated 12,500 pounds — more than 6 tons — of cocaine and 50 pounds of marijuana lie on pallets onboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton on Wednesday in Port Everglades, Fla. The drugs were seized by the Coast Guard cutters Hamilton, Alert and Venturous off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America. (Photo/Coast Guard Ensign Kiana Kekoa)While Broadway fans tried to scoop up tickets to October’s Hamilton performances in Charlotte earlier this week, another namesake of the United States’ first Treasury secretary was also making waves in the Southeast.

The Hamilton was commissioned in 2014. (Photo/Lance Davis/Huntington Ingalls Industries) A crew member from Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton helps rescue an olive ridley sea turtle from abandoned fishing nets and line in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The boat crew cut the turtle free and removed the debris from the ocean. (Photo/Coast Guard Ensign Kiana Kekoa) Chief Warrant Officer Miguel Felix (right) explains the Coast Guard cutter Hamilton’s capabilities to members of the Colombian media Saturday during Sail Cartagena de Indias 2018 in Cartagena, Colombia. (Photo/Coast Guard Ensign Kiana Kekoa)

After 71 days of a counter-drug patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, the crew of the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter Hamilton returned to its home port of North Charleston on Thursday.

The trip started off with combat system ship qualification trials, which tested the ship’s electronic weapons system and evaluated the capability of the National Security Cutter platform.

While patrolling the Eastern Pacific, the crew seized an estimated 2,962 kilograms of cocaine. They also rescued an olive ridley sea turtle from abandoned fishing nets and line. The crew was able to cut the turtle free from the net and line, and the debris was removed from the ocean as the turtle swam away with no signs of injury.

The Hamilton finished its patrol in Cartagena, Colombia, representing the United States at Sail Cartagena de Indias 2018, a tall ship summit celebrating 12 countries and over 3,000 sailors.

“It has been a busy two months for this ship and her crew as we completed vital testing of the ship’s weapons systems and departed Charleston for patrol,” Capt. Mark Gordon, commanding officer of the Hamilton, said in a news release. “We’re excited to be returning to homeport to prepare for our next patrol.”

Coast Guard cutter Hamilton is a 418-foot National Security Cutter that was commissioned in 2014. Its primary missions include counter-drug operations, alien and migrant interception, and search-and-rescue operations.

The Hamilton is one of two cutters home-ported in the Lowcountry. The cutter James also makes its home on the Cooper River at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

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