The United States Coast Guard Cutter VALIANT is a multi-mission, medium endurance cutter home ported in Mayport, Florida. VALIANT operates in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico for Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area. Missions include search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection, homeland security, and national defense operations. VALIANT was built in Lorain, Ohio by the American Shipbuilding Company, and is the seventh of sixteen cutters of her class. VALIANT’s keel was laid on February 28, 1966 and she was launched on January 14, 1967. She was first commissioned on November 3, 1967 in Galveston, Texas where she served for 24 years. In November 1991, VALIANT was decommissioned for a mid-life overhaul. On January 7, 1994, VALIANT was re-commissioned in her present homeport of Miami Beach, Florida.
VALIANT normally carries 12 officers and 63 crewmembers. An important aspect of VALIANT's design is the attention given to habitability. The ship has its own galley, sickbay, laundry, sewage treatment system, televisions, radios, and digital satellite television. Powered by two V16 2550 horsepower ALCO diesel engines, VALIANT is capable of a maximum sustained speed of 18 knots. VALIANT is also equipped with two controllable pitch propellers, which make her highly maneuverable.
In 2008, VALIANT was involved in the dangerous heavy-weather, nighttime rescue and repatriation of a group of 242 Haitian migrants. In 2009, the crew coordinated the rescue of 124 Haitian migrants aboard an overloaded sail freighter located well within Cuban Territorial Seas. All persons aboard were transferred safely to VALIANT and eventually repatriated to Cap Haitien, Haiti.
During VALIANT’s October 2009 patrol, the cutter interdicted nearly 5 tons of cocaine from four separate smuggling vessels. The narcotics were seized as a result of coordinated efforts between VALIANT's crew, other Coast Guard assets, and Customs and Border Patrol aircraft. The contraband seized had a wholesale value of over 125 million dollars.
Following the earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, VALIANT responded and was directed to the north shore to prevent a mass migration. In addition to patrolling much of Haiti's coastline, VALIANT anchored in Cap Haitien and conducted a survey of the port, assisted the Haitian Coast Guard in repairing their assets, and coordinated with the Haitian government and the United Nations to open Cap Haitien as a resupply and repatriation port during the earthquake relief efforts.
During the May-June 2012 Counter Drug patrol, VALIANT interdicted a 32-foot go-fast vessel carrying 2,654 pounds of cocaine, worth a total wholesale value of $32.5 million dollars.
VALIANT's most recent exploits saw her interdict over $250 million in illicit narcotics and 39 suspected drug smugglers over the course of two separate patrols in the Eastern Pacific in support of Joint Interagency Task Force South. The counter drug deployments marked VALIANT's first transit through the Panama Canal in the ship's 48 year history.