Coast Guard unit returns home after six-month Middle East deployment

PORT CLINTON, Ohio — A Welcome Home ceremony for the U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Unit 309 is scheduled to be held at the Port Clinton High School Performing Arts Center, Friday, 10 a.m.

Members of the Port Clinton-based unit will be returning from a six-month deployment to the Middle East.

More than 150 PSU 309 personnel were deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During their deployment, they utilized their skills and expertise to conduct anti-terrorism and force protection for U.S. operations by using a variety of boats, weapons and tactics. PSU members are trained to provide waterborne and land-based protection for shipping and port facilities throughout the world.

Family and friends of PSU 309’s crew, along with Rear Adm. Tom Atkin, commander of the Coast Guard’s Deployable Operations Group, and Rear Adm. Peter Neffenger, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, will welcome home the PSU members.

The DOG was created July 20, 2007, aligning all Coast Guard deployable, specialized forces under a single unified command, headed by Atkin. The command provides organized, equipped and trained forces to Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and interagency operational and tactical commanders. The deployable, specialized forces consist of 27 Coast Guard units that conduct law-enforcement; respond to hazardous material releases, including oil discharges and ensure port security for U.S. and coalition forces operating around the globe.

PSU personnel have been deployed three times since 2001. The events of Sept. 11, 2001, catapulted the unit into action in the port of Boston for 90 days for Operation Noble Eagle. The major highlights in their deployment include being sent to Sicily to help guard U.S. and allied ships in transit to Iraq. During hurricane Katrina, the PSU was sent to the Gulf Coast and set up field operations with the Naval Construction Force (Seabees) in Gulfport, Miss.

Congressman Robert Latta (R-OH) is scheduled to attend and provide remarks during the welcome home ceremony. Several other local government officials are also schedule to attend. The Port Clinton High School band will provide music, and a local veterans group will provide a joint color guard detail.

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