Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Anderson.
Ready to deploy anywhere around the world within 96 hours are the men and women of Port Security Unit 309. Commissioned in 1995, they are one of the Coast Guard’s deployable specialized force units and live by their motto: Facta Non Verba – Deeds Not Words.
Port Security Unit 309 has a proud operational heritage – including missions in support of operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Desert Storm, Noble Eagle and Uphold Democracy – and recently partnered with the U.S. Navy to put deeds before words once again.
The Ohio-based unit teamed up with the Navy in preparation for deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of operations later this year. They partnered with Navy Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 3 at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., to train for their missions of providing security and protecting personnel and facilities from terrorism, sabotage, espionage, subversion and attack.
“The benefit of conducting joint operations is it prepares us to work together in theater. It’s an opportunity to train to a level of familiarity that will allow us to safely and successfully accomplish assigned tasking,” said Cmdr. Gerald A. Nauert, Port Security Unit 309’s commanding officer.
The port security unit’s boat crews took every opportunity to become proficient in security operations for their upcoming deployment. All together the boat crews conducted 150 missions, accumulated more than 3,500 hours underway and expended more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition.
With operations and tactics similar to one another, it was an effortless transition for both the Navy and Coast Guard to assimilate.
“It’s a similar culture. We’re both seagoing services. We share the same mission, so it’s a perfect fit,” said Lt. Cmdr. Karl Hansen, the port security unit’s operations officer.
Amid the joint security operations during the training, port security unit boat crews were able to showcase the Coast Guard’s multi-mission abilities to their Navy brethren when a call for help came in from four mariners in distress.
While underway in San Diego Bay, a port security boat crew observed a distress signal from three passengers aboard a nearby vessel. Their powerless vessel was caught in the current and was being pushed toward the shore. The Coast Guard crew pulled alongside to provide assistance and towed the civilian crew and their vessel safely to homeport.
Later that same afternoon, another port security unit boat crew was underway when a kayaker had washed onto rocks near the mouth of San Diego Bay. The crew made contact with the elderly male, brought him aboard and provided first aid before transferring him to a San Diego Harbor Police to receive further emergency medical care.
“These rescues are an example of the multi-mission capabilities of the port security units,” said Nauert. “Our primary mission is to provide security to sensitive ports and vessels, but our training also enables us to provide humanitarian assistance to the public. It’s a perfect example of our members living up to our unit motto, Facta Non Verba – Deeds Not Words.”