Cutter Gallatin ends final tour of duty with big drug bust

John Gaddy (WCIV)

By Stacy

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Coast Guard cutter Gallatin returned to its home port of Charleston for the last time Wednesday.

As she made her way in to the port, the Bradley kids could not contain their excitement. Their father, Petty Officer Stephen Bradley, spent 72 days away from his family serving aboard the Gallatin for its final tour.

"It was hard but that's just what we have to do sometimes," Bradley said.

The Gallatin is now 45 years old, one of the oldest in the Coast Guard's fleet, officials said.

But on its final tour, it kept up on the high seas. The crew made three cocaine seizures, worth about $34 million on its final tour, officials said.

"A lot of people go a whole tour on a cutter and don't have one bust. We got three. So the success of it really helped to make it a great last tour," Petty Officer Danielle Tatum said.

Its success even warranted a call from the Commander in Chief.

"I thought they were pranking me," Seaman Julian Cubides said.

On Thanksgiving day, President Barack Obama called Cubides, one of the only translators on board.

"We talked about the Heat and the Dolphins. He knows I'm a big fan down in Miami. And he just told me, 'Thanks for the good work and keep up the good work.' It's something I'll always remember," Cubides said.

As part of the Foreign Assistance Act, the U.S. government will give the Gallatin to Nigeria. The ship will become a part of the country's navy, officials said.

National Security Cutter Hamilton will replace the Gallatin in November 2014.