Los Angeles based Maritime Safety and Security Team receives DOD award

LOS ANGELES – Maritime Safety and Security Team Los Angeles/Long Beach (91103), based in San Pedro, Calif., was presented the 2010 Reserve Family Readiness Award by the Department of Defense in a Ceremony at the Pentagon today.

The RFRA is presented to the top unit in each of the reserve components of the armed forces that demonstrate outstanding family readiness while maintaining superior mission readiness.

“Our Coasties have two ultimate loyalties – to their family and equally important to their country,” said Stephen Norton, the unit’s Ombudsman. “If we can focus on family readiness, giving our members the sense of security that their families are safe in their absence they can focus on mission readiness and defend their country.”

As the ombudsman, Norton is the liaison between the MSST’s command and its families.

“MSST LA/LB is honored to be receiving this prestigious award. This crew’s ability to complete successive deployments combined with the reassurance that their families were being supported through our Ombudsman and innovative measures proves to me they are all well-deserving of this recognition,” said Commanding Officer Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Margita.

During back-to-back deployments to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Deepwater Horizon response, MSST LA/LB maintained a 100% reserve family contact rating through personal contact and internet resources. They also hosted a multi-agency family readiness brief and morale event which included speakers from the Coast Guard Work Life, U.S. Navy Fleet and Family Service, the Red Cross and United through reading to unite family members with elements of the family support structure.

The MSST also hosted an Employer Appreciation Day, which allowed reservists to invite their employers to the unit and allowed them to see firsthand the training, education and experience their employee receives from the Coast Guard.

During the ceremony, MSST representatives received a plaque from the DoD and plaque and a cash award from the Military Officers Association of America.

The Maritime Safety and Security Teams were created under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 and are a part of the United States Department of Homeland Security’s layered strategy directed at protecting seaports and waterways.

MSSTs are a component of the Deployable Operations Group (DOG). The DOG provides properly equipped, trained and organized Deployable Specialized Forces (DSFs) to Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and interagency operational and tactical commanders.

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