San Diego Coast Guard deployable law enforcement team gets new leader

Pacific Southwest Coast Guard News
SAN DIEGO — Maritime Safety and Security Team 91109 based in San Diego received a new commanding officer during a change of command ceremony at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Thursday.

Vice Adm. Paul Zukunft, the Coast Guard Pacific Area and Commander, Defense Forces West commander, presided over the ceremony where Capt. Timothy Espinoza took command from Cmdr. Eric Cooper.

Espinoza, a Delta, Colo., native, was previously assigned to the Coast Guard Office of Boat Forces at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Office of Boat Forces enables mission performance in support of the strategic goals of the Coast Guard, providing standards, competencies and budget coordination necessary to safely and effectively operate the vast array of boats needed to meet the Coast Guard’s multi-mission requirements.

MSST San Diego was established December 14, 2004, and is one of 12 similar units around the country that were developed in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The unit is comprised of 12 officers and 82 enlisted personnel that support four departments: Waterside Security Section, Maritime Law Enforcement and Force Protection Team, Regional Dive Locker West, and Engineering.

Personnel are trained in anti-terrorism and force protection tactics, maritime law enforcement operations afloat and ashore, underwater port security, and non-compliant vessel boarding and pursuit tactics. The unit works closely with port partners including Customs and Border Protection, Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Diego Harbor Police, San Diego Lifeguards, and the U.S. Navy. Although based in Southern California, MSST San Diego is available to respond around the globe within 24 hours.

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