MSST New Orleans receives Coast Guard Meritorius Unit Commendation

NEW ORLEANS — U. S. Coast Guard Marine Safety and Security Team 91112 New Orleans received the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009.

MSST crewmembers were presented the award by Rear Adm. William Lee, commander of the Deployable Operations Group.

“It was great to meet the Rear Adm. Lee face-to-face,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Allmer, a damage controllman stationed at MSST New Orleans. “Not many people know what we do, so it made me feel proud to have him tell us how much he appreciates our service from such a high level.”

The crew of MSST New Orleans received the award for outstanding service of local, national and international response operations over the past two years. Such service included 30 maritime homeland security deployments to six Coast Guard districts across 15 states and two foreign deployments.

MSST New Orleans was the first MSST to support U.S. Central Command’s counter-piracy operations in the Middle East. During that deployment, members of MSST New Orleans transferred 17 suspected pirates to Kenyan officials for prosecution and helped train naval forces from Iraq, Jordan and Yemen to combat piracy and safely conduct maritime law enforcement missions.

MSST New Orleans crewmembers also worked with the Canadian Mounted Police and other Coast Guard units to arrest nine smugglers and seize more than one million illegal cigarettes, 214 pounds of marijuana, six smuggling vessels and $38,000.

“At MSST New Orleans we have the finest young men and women the Coast Guard has to offer,”said Lt. Cmdr. Dan Jones, commanding officer of MSST New Orleans. “They put their lives on the line and give their level best each day to help protect our maritime transportation system and this great nation. It’s outstanding to have their efforts formally acknowledged.”

MSST New Orleans is one of 27 deployable specialized force units and is the sixth such unit to receive the award.

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