NAVAL BASE GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Unit (PSU) 305 members conducted a casing of the colors ceremony at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay Tuesday, marking the end of the Coast Guard’s 21-year mission supporting Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO).
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Linda Fagan presided over the historical ceremony and presented a Coast Guard Unit Commendation award to the men and women of PSU 305.
Port Security Units are part of the Coast Guard’s deployable specialized forces and have served JTF-GTMO as the Maritime Security Detachment (MARSECDET) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom for over 21 years. The Virginia-based PSU 305 was the first PSU deployed to Guantanamo Bay in 2002 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and this tour completes their fifth unit deployment.
“Thanks to the quiet resolve and careful watch of our Port Security Units for the past 21 years, the work our Nation has conducted here has been done safely and securely,” said Fagan during the ceremony.
Coast Guard PSUs and Maritime Safety and Security Teams have provided maritime anti-terrorism force protection for JTF-GTMO since 2002 as a part of the Global War on Terror.
There have been 39 unit rotations to Guantanamo Bay since the Coast Guard began supporting the mission. The men and women assigned to the MARSECDET collectively provided over 200,000 underway hours conducting around-the-clock waterside patrols and over 50,000 hours of shoreside anti-terrorism and force protection defense security to Department of Defense assets and personnel at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.
Upon the conclusion of the JTF-GTMO mission, PSUs will continue to remain an agile expeditionary force provider that play a critical role in protecting strategic maritime operations in an environment of increasing global competition. In addition, PSUs will participate in national-level joint and combined exercises to increase readiness and proficiency for the full spectrum of PSU capabilities.
“This is an exciting time for the PSU community,” said Capt. Matthew Michaelis, Pacific Area Deputy Chief of Operations. “As the focus shifts from a long-standing enduring mission, we look forward to supporting future missions that align with their diverse set of capabilities. Our PSUs recently completed three joint DoD exercises and are preparing for additional exercises overseas with DoD and some of our trusted partners. The increased focus on interoperability will better prepare our PSUs to deploy in a joint or multi-lateral environment as they were designed, while also creating opportunities to evolve and uncover new and novel ways for their employment.”
PSUs are Coast Guard Reserve-staffed units that support our nation with well-equipped, trained, and organized expeditionary forces that can rapidly deploy worldwide for anti-terrorism and force protection operations or in defense of high-value assets. Eight PSUs are strategically positioned throughout the country and assigned to the Coast Guard Pacific Area commander in Alameda, Calif.
JTF-GTMO is a U.S. Southern Command task force responsible for the safe, humane, legal care and custody of law of armed conflict detainees; collection and dissemination of intelligence; and supporting military commissions, periodic review boards, and habeas review.
The MARSECDET responsibilities were turned over in May to servicemembers assigned to the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay’s Navy Harbor Patrol Unit and Marine Corps Security Forces.
Following the ceremony, PSU 305 members will return home to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.