Post co-authored by LT Bryan Burkhalter, executive officer of Marine Safety and Security Team (MSST) Los Angeles/Long Beach
Executing missions in the Coast Guard requires extensive teamwork and partnership, and for Petty Officer Second Class Nick Antis his partnership comes in the form of Ryder, a 60-pound Belgian Malinois.
On September 3, Antis, a maritime enforcement specialist, was designated the honor graduate upon his completion of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program.
“For me to receive the distinguished honor graduate award was a huge honor,” said Antis. “I feel privileged to be one of the first of three Coast Guard members to attend the class and have an opportunity to further put our service’s name out there as one that is dedicated to doing our part to protect our country.”
The 10-week program, located at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, led Antis and his canine Ryder through a rigorous curriculum that included canine handler and explosive detection skills in a myriad of training and real-world environments.
The graduating class was the first to include prospective canine handlers from the Coast Guard, and Antis was selected as honor graduate due to his performance on practical and written exams, as well as his demonstrated knowledge of law enforcement policy.
Together the handlers and their canine partners trained in active transportation warehouses, realistic mock-ups of airport terminals, rail transportation and other scenarios.
The training and curriculum is vital for Antis and Ryder, as they will serve together in a Coast Guard Canine Explosive Detection Team (CEDT) for the service life of the dog.
Antis and his canine Ryder will be one of two teams at MSST Los Angeles/Long Beach charged with explosive detection missions in the maritime environment and partnering with federal, state and local agencies.
“Petty Officer Antis & Ryder’s teamwork and the outstanding training they received will be a critical part of the Deployable Operations Group’s adaptive force packages,” said LT Bryan Burkhalter, executive officer of MSST Los Angeles/Long Beach. “I am extremely proud of how Petty Officer Antis represented the Coast Guard, the ME rating and himself by his outstanding performance in this highly challenging training environment.”
As a deployable asset, Antis and Ryder are capable of operating in a variety of geographic locations and environments with the ability to work ashore or aboard vessels, and deploy from helicopters by vertical delivery. Recently, canine teams from MSST Los Angeles/Long Beach provided support to the commissioning of the CGC Waesche, the Super Bowl, and the Rose Bowl, among other events.
Bravo Zulu to Petty Officer Second Class Nick Antis, and his canine Ryder. We look forward to hearing about your operational achievements in the future!
Do you know a Coastie that has done something great for the service, the missions or the public? Please submit your nominations for Guardian of the Week using the submit link on the right.