Cutter returns to SC from final patrol

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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - After 45 years of service, the Coast Guard cutter Gallatin has finished its last patrol.

The cutter slipped up to a pier in North Charleston on Wednesday after a 72-day patrol in the Caribbean. Family members waited along with about a dozen members of the Patriot Guard holding American flags.

During the patrol, the cutter seized more than 24,000 pounds of cocaine valued at almost $34 million.

The Gallatin was commissioned in 1968 and will be decommissioned in March and transferred to Nigeria.

It will be replaced next year by the Hamilton, one of a new generation of National Security Cutters and the first of that class to be deployed on the East Coast. The new cutters are bigger and faster, and have longer range and state-of-the art surveillance equipment.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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