Clearwater Coast Guard unit with global mission welcomes new commander

Members of Coast Guard Port Security Unit 307 salute Cmdr. Karl Hellberg, as he leaves his change of command ceremony at Air Station Clearwater, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. Hellberg transferred command of PSU 307 to Cmdr. Gregory Rogers, during the time-honored military tradition. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ashley J. Johnson)

Members of Coast Guard Port Security Unit 307 salute Cmdr. Karl Hellberg, as he leaves his change of command ceremony at Air Station Clearwater, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ashley J. Johnson)

CLEARWATER, Fla. – A local U.S. Coast Guard Reserve unit that played a pivotal role in the 2017 U.S. hurricane response welcomed a new commander at a ceremony in Clearwater, Saturday.

Cmdr. Karl Hellberg of Astoria, Oregon, was relieved by Cmdr. Gregory Rogers of Miamisburg, Ohio, as the commanding officer of Port Security Unit 307.

Cmdr. Hellberg led U.S. Coast Guard PSU 307, a 160-person command, during a deployment to distribute food to victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, while providing security for search and rescue crews from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.

Under Cmdr. Hellberg’s watch the reserve unit attained new levels of readiness and earned the coveted U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area Exceptional Readiness Award. Port Security Unit 307 served as a center for excellence for Coast Guard reserve units from across the country, training tactical boat operators and fire teams in advanced weapons and tactics. These efforts were instrumental in the continued deployment of Coast Guard Reserve personnel in support of U.S. defense operations around the world.

Cmdr. Rogers, who has 21 years of combined military service in the Coast Guard and Marine Corps, takes the helm of PSU 307 after serving three years on active duty as the logistics officer of Port Security Unit 309 in Port Clinton, Ohio. Rogers deployed in support of defense operations in Korea and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with PSU 309. His experience and understanding of port security operations will ensure the continued success of PSU 307 and support to the Tampa Bay community.

Coast Guard Port Security Units conduct worldwide defense operations focused on waterside antiterrorism and force protection of U.S. and allied vessels. Established in 1999, PSU 307 has an extensive operational history. Unit personnel have deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations four times since 2001. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the unit deployed to secure Boston Harbor and protect U.S. naval vessels in Providence, Rhode Island. The unit also boasts an impressive humanitarian service record, which includes deployments to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Haiti following the devastating earthquake in 2010.

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