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NORFOLK -- Another Norfolk-based Navy warship is headed south to fight the war on drugs.

Today the guided missile frigate USS Elrod shipped out of Naval Station Norfolk. The ship and her crew of 186 sailors are bound for the Caribbean Sea to conduct counter-narcotics missions with partner nations and the United States Coast Guard.

Elrod's deployment comes one day after another frigate, USS Nicholas, departed for South America, where she and her crew will also be involved with hunting for drug runners.

'It's a national security problem,' said Elrod Commanding Officer CDR John Callaway, explaining the reason for the mission. 'The amount of drugs that are flowing north, and the money and guns that are flowing south are destabilizing our Central American neighbors. And it's an important contribution for the Navy, and I'm looking forward to this mission.'

Callaway said it is merely a coincidence that Elrod and Nicholas deployed within 24 hours of each other, bound for similar destinations with similar missions. He said it's not an indication that the U.S. military is increasing its focus on illicit drugs.

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