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Press Release | Dec. 1, 2023

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bear returns home following 56-day maritime safety and security patrol

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bear (WMEC 901) returned to their homeport in Portsmouth, Friday, following a 56-day deployment in the Windward Pass and Central Caribbean.

Bear worked alongside other Coast Guard cutters, U.S. Navy assets, and Department of Homeland Security units to promote maritime safety and secure maritime borders, targeting unsafe migration and human trafficking from Cuba and Haiti, while prioritizing the protection of lives at sea. Bear’s crew also supported Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast’s Operation Vigilant Sentry and Joint Interagency Task Force South initiatives within the Coast Guard Seventh District’s area of responsibility.

During the patrol, Bear interdicted an overloaded vessel suspected of migrants and escorted the vessel back to their point of origin, Haiti.

While moored in Cartagena, Colombia, the Bear’s crew hosted a subject matter expert exchange with the Colombian Navy. Bear’s crew cross-trained with Colombian Navy partners, sharing interdiction and counterdrug best practices. Bear also hosted an international group of flag officers and staff from Colombia, France, and the United States.

“I’m extremely proud of the Bear crew for their professionalism and fellowship working alongside our Colombia partners,” said Cmdr. Brooke Millard, Bear’s commanding officer. “The interoperability between U.S. and Colombia assets is a true force multiplier.”

Of note, during this patrol, one of Bear’s original 40-year-old Main Diesel Engines clocked 100,000 hours of service, a testament to Coast Guard engineering and maintenance.

Bear is a 270-foot, Famous-class medium endurance cutter. The cutter’s primary missions are counterdrug operations, migrant interdiction, enforcement of federal fishery laws, and search and rescue in support of U.S. Coast Guard operations throughout the Western Hemisphere. The medium endurance cutters fall under the command of the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area. Based in Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area oversees all Coast Guard operations east of the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf. In addition to surge operations, Atlantic Area also allocates ships to deploy to the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific to combat transnational organized crime and illicit maritime activity.

For information on how to join the U.S. Coast Guard, visit to learn about active duty, reserve, officer, and enlisted opportunities. Information on how to apply to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy can be found here.

Learn more about Operation Vigilant Sentry here