Since 2002, Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia have been conducting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan under tactical control of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. Six 110-foot cutters and more than 200 shore side support personnel are carrying out maritime security and stability operations, protecting critical infrastructure, building regional partnerships and helping Iraq maintain access to their single deepwater port at Umm Qasr.
As combat operations transitioned to long-term goals of building regional stability and security, the Coast Guard has conducted a number of regional engagement initiatives, including helping its partners in the Iraqi Coastal Border Guard enhance their maritime capabilities through targeted courses in small boat maintenance and operations.
On the leading edge stands Petty Officer 1st Class William Glenzer – the first lieutenant on the Coast Guard Cutter Maui, forward deployed with Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. An experienced small boat coxswain, Glenzer volunteered to be a part of a 12-man Coast Guard training and advisory team, helping to establish a small boat training program with the Iraqi Coastal Border Guard.
Helping to shape the efforts of the training and advisory team from its inception, Glenzer served as the boat manager, training petty officer, safety officer, lead instructor and senior coxswain in Umm Qasr. During a two-month period this spring, he safely conducted more than 30 small boat missions in unfamiliar, war zone waters training more than 75 Iraqi boat operators. Identifying opportunities for improvements in equipment, and then proactively working with Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and Royal Navy personnel to resolve the issues, Glenzer demonstrated his commitment to supporting a capable, well-trained Iraqi Coastal Border Guard.
“Petty Officer Glenzer leveraged his prior service with the U.S. Army to build successful and long lasting relationships with other U.S., British, and Iraqi forces, directly influencing and improving his unit’s mission capabilities,” said Lt. Heather Bacon-Shone, the commanding officer of cutter Maui. “He demonstrated superior teamwork not only within the Coast Guard detachment, but in building crucial relationships with members at all levels of the Iraqi Coastal Border Guard.”
“Through his dedication to duty, can-do attitude and successful instruction of Iraqi Coast Border Guard students, he helped ensure Iraq’s maritime safety and security and supported Iraq in maintaining the sovereignty of its maritime borders,” added Bacon-Shone.