As the nation’s lead maritime law enforcement agency, Coast Guardsmen stand the watch on America’s maritime borders. Whether patrolling a port complex in a response boat or safeguarding our coastline miles offshore on a national security cutter, the men and women of the Coast Guard are sentinels in preventing threats from reaching the United States.
It is this capability and proficiency in protecting our nation Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian O’Sullivan uses to perform his mission as a team leader with the Coast Guard’s Mobile Training Branch, based out of Yorktown, Va. As a member of MTB, O’Sullivan applies his operational experiences in the Coast Guard to enhance maritime training and technical assistance to foreign militaries worldwide.
With a range of duty assignments sounding more like a list of passport stamps after a trip around the world – including Belize, Guyana, Montenegro, Vietnam, Gabon and Nicaragua – O’Sullivan is on the leading edge of strengthening global capacities to fight international drug trafficking and crime.
“MTB teams deploy an average of 190 days per year, with each mission varying from two weeks to up to three months,” said Lt. Cmdr. Linda Hoerster, chief of MTB. “This demands an enormous amount of adaptability and flexibility from our team. In 2011, MTB conducted 120 deployments in 60 countries and provided instruction to nearly 2,000 students.”
Most recently, O’Sullivan led a team of Coast Guardsmen on a mission to Morocco. Under his leadership, the team was charged with a high-profile and complex assignment in support of the State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program. Serving as both a team leader and instructor, he played a critical role in establishing the Royal Gendarmerie’s Maritime Law Enforcement training program.
O’Sullivan focused on a curriculum centered on deterring drug trafficking within Moroccan territorial waters. The mission started with rigorous classroom and applied trainings, where students practiced the ins and outs of performing law enforcement missions at sea.
In order to arm the Royal Gendarmerie with the skills they needed to establish their own sustainable and independent program, the boarding officer course was followed by a two-week instructor course. Here, the students applied their newly acquired knowledge as boarding officers to teach others. Ultimately, the training led to the Royal Gendarmerie instructing their own under the supervision of O’Sullivan’s team.
It’s hard to grasp the amount of proficiency and competency required for O’Sullivan to perform this mission; a mission that literally laid the groundwork for an effective maritime law enforcement program for Morocco. But, the ability to take on something exceedingly difficult is all part of O’Sullivan’s nature.
“MK2 O’Sullivan’s pride, professionalism and dedication to Coast Guard core values has made a significant impact on the Mobile Training Branch, Coast Guard and international community,” said Lt. Raphael Sadowitz, maritime law enforcement section chief at MTB. “His exceptional technical skills and initiative have contributed to the successful execution of 14 critical training missions to some of the most diverse and challenging locations around the globe.”
By providing training to the Royal Gendarmerie and fostering global cooperation, O’Sullivan helped not only stabilize and strengthen the ability for Moroccan law enforcement officers to combat narcotrafficking, but also diminish maritime threats to the United States and its citizens.