Coast Guard trains local Civil Support Team for maritime operations

FORT MEADE, Md. – Members of Coast Guard Sector Baltimore and Mustang Survival instructors provided an Introduction to Maritime Operations course to personnel from the Maryland National Guard’s 32nd Civil Support Team based out of Ft. Meade, Wednesday.

The IMO course is a direct result of the Memorandum of Agreement between Sector Baltimore and the 32nd Civil Support Team, which was signed on Jan. 22, 2009, that formalized the units’ joint training and operations support functions.

“In the world of all hazards response operations, no single agency can go it alone,” said Lt. Joshua Blocker, chief of the incident management division at Sector Baltimore. “We rely heavily on the capability that the CST brings to the table and similarly, they rely on the Coast Guard because of our experience and capability to operate in a maritime environment.”

Instructors taught soldiers course material from the Coast Guard’s Boat Operations and Training manuals, Boat Crew Seamanship manual and Rescue and Survival Systems manual.

An Annapolis-based Mustang Survival instructor was on hand to demonstrate rescue and survival equipment to CST personnel and assist the unit command staff with equipment selection and procurements.

Nationwide, Civil Support Teams may be called upon to assist the Coast Guard in maritime incidents. Combined with the CSTs’ transition from a solely weapons of mass destruction team to an all-hazards response unit has necessitated a review and modification of existing CST doctrine to include maritime operations.

To date, the 32nd CST has assisted Sector Baltimore in numerous training and operational deployments, including Operation Joint Venture in May of 2008 and Chesapeake City Canal Days 2008. The 32nd CST is also an active member of Sector Baltimore’s Operational Planning Cell, Maryland Maritime Tactical Operations Group and Regional Response Team III.

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