NORFOLK -- It was a big day for Navy families as USS Elrod returned to Naval Station Norfolk Friday.
The guided-missile frigate left six months ago to take part in Operation Martillo, a drug patrol operation in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.
While in the Caribbean, the Elrod crew conducted seven highly-successful interdictions, capturing 13 narco-traffickers and seizing over 10,000 pounds of cocaine and 5,000 pounds of marijuana. The drugs have a street value of more than $850 million.
Elrod also worked with the Partner Nations of Panama, Colombia, and Costa Rica resulting in the additional disruption of 1,500 pounds of cocaine and the capture of 12 suspected narco-traffickers.
When they weren't stopping illegal drugs, Elrod's crew rescued four people clinging to the bow of their sinking boat.
USSElrod's crew conducted seven successful port visits. During the Roatan, Honduras visit, the crew participated in Project Handclasp, delivering medical and hygiene supplies to a local orphanage and hospital, as well as stuffed animals to local school children and to the Pediatric wing of the local hospital. The crew also volunteered for two Community Relations projects readying a school that was opening the following week and cleaning up the grounds of the orphanage.