Port Security Unit 311 receives highest readiness award

WASHINGTON – Port Security Unit 311, based in San Pedro, Calif., was presented the 2009 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.

“Technology is the key,” said Elisha Yadrick, PSU 311’s unit ombudsman. “When my husband deployed for the first time, he could email me twice a day and call once a week. Now, families can use the internet to talk to their loved ones almost daily.”

As the ombudsman, Yadrick is the liaison between PSU 311’s command and its families.

“In any deployment situation, the fear of the unknown causes a lot of worry for the families,” said Cmdr. Armin Cate, Commanding Officer of PSU 311. “Good communication eliminates the fear and stress.”

During PSU 311’s most recent 10-month deployment to the Persian Gulf, Yadrick started an informal internet chat group that allowed family members to share stories and provide support to each other. She also manned a cell phone to provide 24 hour support and assistance to PSU 311 families.

“The internet chat group really helped,” she said. “Everyone was able to share their experiences, and even if they weren’t geographically close they knew someone else was experiencing the same thing.”

PSU 311 members also participated in the “United through Reading” program, which allows deployed members to read a book while being videotaped. The tape was then delivered to the families through the ombudsman.

“Improving communication and recognizing the sacrifices of the dependents helps us stay ready for future deployments,” Cate said.

During the ceremony, PSU 311 representatives received a plaque from the Department of Defense and plaque and a cash award from the Military Officers Association of America.

Since 9-11, PSU 311 has been mobilized four times, conducting anti-terrorism missions in Manama, Bahrain; Ash Shualba, Kuwait, Kuwaiti Naval Base; Umm Qasr, Iraq; and aboard the off-shore Khor-Ak-Amaya Oil Terminal in the Northern Arabian Gulf, 800 yards from the Iranian territorial waters.

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