Coast Guard Port Security Unit 309 Deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Members from Coast Guard Port Security Unit 309 board a plane at Mansfield Lahn Air National Guard Base in Mansfield, Ohio, Oct. 25, 2017. PSU 309 deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Steenson).

Members from Coast Guard Port Security Unit 309 board a plane at Mansfield Lahn Air National Guard Base in Mansfield, Ohio, Oct. 25, 2017. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Steenson).

PORT CLINTON, Ohio – Service members from Coast Guard Port Security Unit 309, based in Port Clinton, deployed Oct. 25 from Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Port Security Unit 309 deploys to Guantanamo Bay

Members from Coast Guard Port Security Unit 309 load gear onto a plane at Mansfield Lahn Air National Guard Base in Mansfield, Ohio, Oct. 25, 2017. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Steenson

During the deployment, members from PSU 309 will provide around-the-clock waterside and shoreside anti-terrorism and force protection defense security to Department of Defense assets and personnel in the Naval Defensive Sea Area of Guantanamo Bay. PSU 309 will operate alongside Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Army service members conducting operations at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay and along adjoining waters. Additionally, personnel will also support operational activities, including administration, logistics, intelligence, communications, engineering and armory to support and sustain operations by ensuring all members are properly equipped and boats, weapons and other equipment are mission ready.

“Port Security Units are a unique tool in the Coast Guard’s arsenal of capabilities,” said Capt. Matthew Wadleigh, the commanding officer of PSU 309.

PSU 309 prepares for GITMO deployment

Port Security Unit 309 Shoreside Security Division man a simulated fixed battle position Oct. 14, as part of the unit’s field training exercise. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Second Class Matthew Bruce

“We are designed to be expeditionary units who can be sent worldwide to support Department of Defense operations. Coast Guard members come to Port Security Units and spend up to five years training to be ready for the call to deploy down range for a real-world mission. Getting the chance to deploy with a Port Security Unit is a career highlight for many, and I couldn’t be prouder of the men and women deploying with me.”

Prior to their deployment, PSU 309 mobilized in late summer to complete medical and dental examinations and to conduct integrated maritime and land-based tactics, techniques and procedures training, which culminated in a joint field training exercise. The field training exercise brought together the unit’s full array of waterside and shoreside security assets, integrated under the umbrella of a tactical operations center for command and control of maritime and land-side point defense to work through a variety of scenarios the unit can expect to encounter during their deployment.

PSU 309 prepares for GITMO deployment

U.S. Coast Guard members assigned to Port Security Unit 309 Waterside Security Division get underway Oct. 10, to perform tactical coxswain and tactical boat crewmember training near Marblehead Lighthouse. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer John Anderson

PSUs are deployable specialized forces assigned to the commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area, and they provide the Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and interagencies operational and tactical commanders with equipped, trained and organized expeditionary forces who are ready to deploy anywhere in the world on short notice.

PSU 309 was originally designated as a notional unit in the 1980s under the name of PSU 302. PSU 309 was commissioned June 18, 1995, at Camp Perry in Port Clinton, and the unit is one of eight PSUs in the Coast Guard.

PSU 309 has distinguished itself with several overseas deployments to Jordan (1989); Bahrain (1990, 2000 and 2001); Saudi Arabia (1990); Haiti (1994); Italy (2003); Kuwait (2003, 2008 and 2012); United Arab Emirates (2008); Cuba (2012); and South Korea (2015).

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