ALAMEDA (CBS SF) – A happy and relieved group of family and friends welcomed back the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton Sunday to its homeport Alameda after 3 months at sea.
And it seems no one was more excited about that than Kale and Kai Baynor.
"My dad's coming home today," said the boys almost in unison. "We're so excited. We can't wait. We love him so much."
The Stratton was deployed off Central and South America, intercepting drug shipments and did pretty well.
The crew captured more than 6 tons of pure cocaine valued at more than $55 million.
"The intent is for the Coast Guard to push our borders offshore, get down south where the cocaine comes out of Colombia…out of the jungle…so it never has a chance to get close to the border," said the Stratton's commanding officer Capt. Nate Moore.
But it definitely is not an easy chore.
"We're working in an area about the size of the United States of America, trying to find small 30 foot long speedboats that are trying to NOT be found," said executive officer Commander Matt Waldron.
To help in their quest, the crew turned to a new high-tech weapon.
For the first time, the Stratton launched a ScanEagle drone like the ones used by the Army and Navy. The 8-foot, surveillance aircraft can stay aloft for hours—and without giving too much away—can be a rude surprise to the smugglers in their 'go-fast' boats.
"I'll just say it's really hard to detect," Waldron said with a chuckle.
The captain said the combination of technology, a well-trained crew and the ability to match the changing tactics of the drug cartels is the reason this ship was successful in its mission.
But for the Baynor family there was another mission that mattered even more.
"We're just really happy to have him home today," the boys said.
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