Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Anderson, public affairs specialist
The Everett, Wash., based Port Security Unit 313 arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Saturday to a standing ovation from airline passengers who were waiting for their flights at the airport gates. Port Security Unit members made their way through the terminal to their families eagerly cheering their return inside the airport’s atrium.
“As soon as you get around the corner [to see your family], you’re just a ball of emotions,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael McQuade, a boatswain’s mate at PSU 313. “No matter how big and tough you are, this is all that matters.”
During the deployment, PSU 313 personnel provided landward and seaward security at strategic port locations around the North Arabian Gulf ensuring the free flow of personnel, equipment and commerce in the region.
The Coast Guard is the recognized leader in port security at home and overseas. Overseas missions are performed primarily by Port Security Units, self-contained units staffed mostly by reservists. PSUs are just one way the Coast Guard adds measurable value to larger national security strategy goals, and their capabilities are an extraordinary force multiplier.
“I am extremely proud of the men and women under my command during this highly successful deployment,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. James B. Andrews, commanding officer of PSU 313. “They performed their duties with the utmost professionalism and devotion to duty.”
PSU 313 operated and conducted joint training with the Navy’s Maritime Expeditionary Squadron 3 as part of Combined Task Group 56.5, under the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command. As part of CTG 56.5, PSU 313 worked alongside Navy’s Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadrons, as well as elements from the U.S. Army’s Surface Deployment and Distribution Command and Military Sealift Command to provide harbor defense and security to ports, seaward approaches and waterways within U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility.
The deployed Coast Guard men and women provided escort and static waterside security for more than 100 naval vessels and other designated high-value assets. They also participated in real-world evolutions and exercises with the Kuwaiti navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy counterparts building on partner capacity and strengthening our capabilities to integrate as coalition partners.
“Our seamless integration and work with our Navy counterparts enabled us to conduct this joint service mission,” Andrews said. “On a personal level I am grateful for the friendships that were forged on this deployment as well as the constant support of our friends and family back home.”