Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake
NORFOLK, Va. – Coast Guard Port Security Unit 305 departed Norfolk, Virginia, last week for a regularly scheduled, 9-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
PSU 305’s deployment will coincide with a relief in place/transfer of authority between Maritime Security Detachment PSU 307. MARSECDET is the unit that supports Joint Task Force-Guantanamo Bay’s antiterrorism-force protection waterside mission.
To prepare for the deployment, PSU 305 members participated in joint exercises and weapons training.
“We received a great deal of support from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Marine Corps Base Quantico and all the Coast Guard installations in the Tidewater area,” said Cmdr. Michael “Mac” McCarthy, PSU 305’s commanding officer. “During the the first week of February, the unit set up in the field on Joint Base Langley-Eustis to conduct a week-long field exercise that brought all the operational elements together to work through a variety of scenarios that we can expect to encounter on deployment.”
Throughout their deployment, PSU 305 will maintain a continuous maritime antiterrorism-force protection presence in the Naval Defensive Sea Area of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, directly supporting the Commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay Naval reservation and adjoining waters, creating a layered defensive posture.
“I’m very proud of the other 114 members of the unit deploying with me. I’ve only been in command since July, but I’ve seen the motivation and hard work of these members in preparing not only themselves, but also their team, for deployment,” said McCarthy. “We are 115 strong going down range, and are the first full PSU to fully mobilize to GTMO together.”
PSU 305, comprised entirely of Coast Guard Reserve members, was formally commissioned on August 19, 1995 at the Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, Virginia, and is one of eight PSUs in the Coast Guard.
“PSUs are a very unique tool in the Coast Guard’s arsenal, and are part of the bigger deployable specialized forces,” he said. “PSU’s are designed to be an expeditionary unit that can be sent to any forward operating environment, supporting DOD operations in a rear security environment.”
Since September 11, 2001, PSU 305 has conducted several operational deployments as a part of the Global War on Terror. Immediately following the attacks on the World Trade Center, the unit mobilized to New York harbor as a part of Operation Noble Eagle. The unit has deployed twice to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, once to Rota, Spain in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and once to Kuwait in support of Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom.