Coast Guard maritime anti-terrorism unit to return home after 6-month deployment

Coast Guard District 1 NewsBOSTON — A Boston-based maritime anti-terrorism unit is returning home Tuesday just in time to spend Thanksgiving with their families after a six-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Maritime Safety and Security Team Boston (91110) are scheduled to land at Hanscom Air Force Base from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

During the deployment, MSST members formed the Maritime Security Detachment for Joint Task Force Guantanamo and were responsible for securing the port and waterways around the base. MSST Boston boat crews logging more than 4,500 hours of continuous patrols. They also provided shore-side security, which included internal courtroom security for the legal complex where military commissions are held.

“I’m am very proud of our unit,” said Lt. Cmdr. Keith Utley, MSST Boston’s commanding officer. “My crew consistently performed their duties in a professional manner and exemplified the Coast Guard’s core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty. We look forward to getting home and reuniting with our families.”

Prior to deploying, unit members completed two-months of training that included boat and weapon qualifications, team coordination training and CPR certification.

To augment the MSST’s active-duty component, reservists from across the nation were hand selected for the six-month deployment.

“We added a great mixture of individuals from across the country to our team,” said Lt. Cmdr Kevin Duffy, MSST Boston’s executive officer. “The reservists quickly integrated into our unit and brought unique skill sets from their civilian jobs that greatly enhanced our effectiveness.”

The reservist members’ civilian occupations include everything from undergraduate students to emergency service personnel and retail employees. Each volunteered for the deployment and were excited to join MSST Boston and serve their country.

“My Dad was called up for service for Vietnam with the New Hampshire National Guard, and my Grandfather was in the Army Air Corp during WWII,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Wyskiel, a New England native and Chittenden County, Colchester Police Officer. “I’ve been a Coast Guard Reservist for five years, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to deploy as MSST member.”

MSST Boston was created under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) in direct response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and is a part of the Department of Homeland Security’s layered strategy directed at protecting seaports and waterways.

MSSTs provide waterborne and a shore-side antiterrorism force protection for strategic shipping, high-interest vessels and critical infrastructure. These units are a quick response force capable of rapid worldwide deployment via air, ground or sea transportation in response to changing threat conditions and evolving maritime homeland security mission requirements.

Eleven MSSTs are strategically positioned throughout the nation and are components of the U.S. Deployable Operations Group (DOG). The DOG provides properly equipped, trained and organized Deployable Specialized Forces (DSFs) to Coast Guard, DHS, Department of Defense and interagency operational commanders.

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