Coast Guard TACLET South gets new commander

7th Coast Guard District News
Miami – A change of command ceremony was held for Tactical Law Enforcement Team (TACLET) South at Coast Guard Air Station Miami in Opa Locka, Fla., Friday.

During the ceremony, Cmdr. Robert J. Landolfi assumed the responsibilities of TACLET South commanding officer from Capt. Timothy J. Espinoza.

During Espinoza’s tenure, TACLET South has been directly involved in 20 major drug interdictions, detained 153 suspected smugglers for prosecution and seized more than 89.2 tons of cocaine with an estimated street value of $3 billion. In 2010 and 2008, the unit was officially recognized by the U.S. Interdiction Coordinator with the Maritime Superior Performance Award for Counter Drug Operations.

Additionally, TACLET South teams have deployed to the Middle East in support of Combined Task Force 150 and 151 counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. They conducted 20 high-risk boardings and interdicted 132 Somali pirates. They also have performed various missions to include providing security for the critical Iraqi oil infrastructure, conducted boardings on tankers and trained 350 Coalition Force and Iraqi military personnel.

Landolfi is arriving from Seventh Coast Guard District where he served as the International and Interagency Operations Section Chief and coordinated law enforcement operations and maritime professional exchanges throughout the Caribbean Basin. Previously, he has served as the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutters Tornado and Jefferson Island and was the Officer-in-Charge of TACLET Gulf’s Eight Bravo Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET).

The change of command ceremony is a time-honored event preserved by the rich heritage of naval tradition. It is a custom that is formal and impressive and designed to strengthen the respect for the continuity of command that is vital to any military organization. The climax of the ceremony is reached when both officers read their orders, face one another, salute and transfer responsibility for the command. This provides the entire command with the knowledge that the new officer directed by proper authority is taking command and an opportunity to witness this transfer of responsibility.

TACLETs and their LEDETs are an armed Deployable Specialized Force under the U.S. Coast Guard’s Deployable Operations Group. They were created to support drug interdiction operations aboard U.S. Navy and allied warships and are capable of supporting the Department of Defense national defense operations. LEDETs provide specialized law enforcement capability and maritime security capabilities to enforce U.S. laws across a full spectrum of maritime response situations, maritime security augmentation and maritime interdiction anti-piracy operations.

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