A Port Clinton, Ohio, based Coast Guard Reserve unit deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Tuesday night.
Port Security Unit 309 deployed from Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base and will join with the Navy's Maritime Expeditionary Squadron Three (MSRON 3) to form Combined Task Group 56.5, under the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command. CTG 56.5 is charged with providing harbor defense and security to ports, seaward approaches, and waterways within U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility and ensuring the free flow of personnel, equipment and commerce in the region.
“I am proud to report that unit morale is high and we are looking forward to serving alongside the US Navy on this vital mission.” said Cmdr. Gerald A. Nauert, PSU 309’s commanding officer. “Our members have prepared and we are ready.”
Prior to deploying, PSU 309 completed exercises with MSRON 3 at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif. Also, the unit participated in pre-deployment training with the US Army at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
PSUs provide security and protect personnel and facilities from terrorism, sabotage, espionage, subversion, and attack. During the exercise, they conducted point defense, harbor security and high value asset escort missions. PSU boat crews conducted 150 mission sorties, accumulated more than 3,500 underway patrol hours and expended more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition during the exercises to prepare for the upcoming deployment
“We were fortunate to have invaluable training that honed our skills,” Nauert said. “PSU 309 members have now reached peak performance and we are grateful to the US Army and US Navy for sharing their knowledge.”
PSU 309 families are benefiting from the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, a DOD-wide effort to help National Guard and Reserve members and their families locate resources before, during, and after deployments. Yellow Ribbon events provide access to information on health care, education and training opportunities, financial and legal benefits.
PSU 309 can trace its history back to mid-80s and early 90s when PSUs were "notional" units, meaning they would remain in a training phase mainly manned by reservists until they were activated to a deployed area as a Rapid Deployment Force.
With the commissioning of PSU 309, in 1995, such units moved from a notional unit to a self-sustaining Coast Guard unit, deploying anywhere around the world within 96 hours and operational in 24 hours. The unit has a proud operational heritage, including missions in support of Operations’ Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Desert Storm, Noble Eagle, and Uphold Democracy.
PSUs are a component of the Coast Guard's Deployable Operations Group (DOG). The DOG provides properly equipped, trained, and organized Deployable Specialized Forces to Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and interagency operational and tactical commanders.