Los Angeles-based High-End Security Team Gets New Leader

SAN PEDRO, Calif. – Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team Los Angeles-Long Beach is a maritime anti-terrorism team that provides water and shore-based protection for strategic shipping, high-interest vessels, and critical infrastructure. Highly-trained team members are capable of deploying via air, land or sea to support any homeland security or defense missions.

The unit will be holding a change-of-command ceremony, Friday, July 30, to welcome new commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Margita.

Margita brings a wealth of tactical and leadership experience to the unit. He has conducted Homeland Security and counter-narcotic deployments in both the U.S. and Caribbean, as well as led two deployments to the Persian Gulf. Margita has served at the former Tactical Law Enforcement Team North and the Maritime Security Response Team, leading both a Law Enforcement Detachment and Direct Action Team.

Margita will be replacing Cmdr. Charlene Downey, who oversaw the completion of many important security missions. During her command, MSST LA-LB completed over 37 critical maritime homeland security missions, deployed to Hawaii in support of Operation Super Ferry, and recently completed a six-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While deployed to Cuba, the unit provided vital security to Joint Task Force Guantanamo’s detention facilities, including the five co-conspirators of the 9/11 attacks. They provided direct support during Operation Unified Response in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti assisting survivors and responders in the area. Small boat crew members also deployed to Louisiana to help establish safety zones in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 rig crewmembers. Recently, the unit pioneered vertical insertion operational and training capabilities with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the first such agreement with a local partner for the Coast Guard.

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