For over 200 years, the Coast Guard has filled the roll as our Nation’s first responder to threats in the maritime environment – both domestic and foreign. Aside from conducting general law enforcement, maritime law enforcement personnel prevent, deter, and respond to illicit activities such as terrorism, illegal entry, smuggling, piracy, as well as enforce federal laws protecting the United States’ living marine resources.
With eight of the top 10 most violent nations residing in the Western Hemisphere and transnational organized crime networks acting as non-state actors, relationships between America’s military services and law enforcement agencies with their counterparts throughout the region are more important than ever. And, every Coast Guard port call is an opportunity to build and nurture those critical partnerships.
Sometimes a person gets a weird feeling in the pit of their stomach because there is more to a situation than meets the eye. This feeling is commonly referred to as a person’s “sixth sense.” Coast Guard boarding officers are trained to follow that “sixth sense” while they’re conducting counter narcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Basin. That’s exactly what happened to Petty Officer Matthew Baasch and a boarding team from the Cutter Bertholf when they climbed aboard the fishing vessel Goliat I off the coast of Colombia on June 28.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Blake Wagner (left) and Lt. j.g. Eric Watkins of Pacific Area Tactics and Law Enforcement Team stand ready for training taking place on Coast Guard Island, Aug. 16, 2011. An Air National Guard aircrew assisted the MSST 91104 unit and four members of PACTACLET train for an upcoming deployment to the