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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Feb. 14, 2023

Taking the PSU back to its roots Part 2: The exercise 

By Anastasia M. Devlin, courtesy of Reservist magazine

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the Reservist magazine’s fourth and final issue of 2022. It has been edited for length. Please read part one here. You may read the original story here. To read the first part of this story, please click here.

In the darkness Wednesday morning of week two, the sounds of gunfire brought the crew out of their cots. A woman had come to the gate requesting help, but only long enough to distract the guards. The entry control point (ECP) was under attack.

Through the confusion and the volleys of bullets, Coast Guard safety officers in red hats floated by like ghosts, ignored by the players. The tableau of Coast Guardsmen firing into the woods at opposition forces, while simultaneously calling to each other for ammunition and backup created an eerie feeling of realism.

Frost said that first emotional reaction is, "'My team is in trouble, what do I do, how fast can I get to them, ’ but by the time you get your gear on and your helmet on and you regain your senses a little, then your training kicks in and you formulate a plan.”

After a quick debrief following the evolution at the ECP, exercise action picked up on the lake, where an opposition force (or OPFOR) vessel began a simulated attack on two high valued assets (HVA)—one at anchor and one underway. 

As the vessels dodged each other, their sharp turns and evasive maneuvers tossed up a heavy wake. Back on shore and hidden in the trees, security teams watched the red and green lights on the water, weapons at the ready.

Radios at the tactical operations center (TOC) picked up the dialogue of the security boat coordinating directly with those in the fixed fighting positions on shore to cover down on the OPFOR boat.

Kowalske said that handoff of engagement was one of the most important aspects to train on, ensuring both continued engagement with the OPFOR as well as the protection of the security boat coxswain and crew.

"We get so few opportunities to exercise those in tandem,” said Kowalske, “so we took full advantage of our ability to test both.”

The two weeks of [ADT] training is always valuable, but this level of evolution puts a new spin on it,” said Remusat. “This was a total success — it helps us prepare the unit for future mobilizations on the horizon.”