Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Port Security Unit 307

Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll

Port Security Unit 307 members line up in formation during a homecoming ceremony after returning home from a nine-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Feb. 27, 2017. While deployed, PSU 307 members performed duties in support of the Joint Task Force's mission of ensuring the safe, humane, legal, and transparent care and custody of law of war detainees. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll.

Port Security Unit 307 members line up in formation during a homecoming ceremony after returning home from a nine-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Feb. 27, 2017. While deployed, PSU 307 members performed duties in support of the Joint Task Force’s mission of ensuring the safe, humane, legal, and transparent care and custody of law of war detainees. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll.

Based in Clearwater, Florida, Coast Guard Reserve Port Security Unit 307 returned home, Feb. 27, 2017, to awaiting family, friends and pets after a nine-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

While deployed, PSU 307 was the first Coast Guard unit in 14 years to integrate and coordinate all seaward-focused anti-terrorism/force protection assets under a single tactical commander and amassed over 8,200 hours protecting Guantanamo Bay. They also provided security for the Military Commissions hearing for 9/11 attackers and assisted in detainee transfers.

“I’m very proud of the men and women of PSU 307,” said Cmdr. Eric Bernstein, commanding officer of PSU 307. “They performed their duties with the utmost professionalism, and were vital to the success of multiple detainee transfers affected to reduce the population remaining within the detention facilities.”

The unit conducted multiple field exercises which prepared the crew to gain proficiency in seaward security. Their exercises improved communication between shore-side and waterborne defense as well as prepared the tactical-action officer to respond to any unknown threats.

Lt. Cmdr. Chris Anderson stands in front of his troops at Air Station Clearwater, Fla., Feb. 27, 2017. Port Security Unit 307 returned home from a nine-month deployment where they in support of the Joint Task Force's mission of ensuring the safe, humane, legal, and transparent care and custody of law of war detainees. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll.

Lt. Cmdr. Chris Anderson stands in front of his troops at Air Station Clearwater, Fla., Feb. 27, 2017. Port Security Unit 307 returned home from a nine-month deployment where they in support of the Joint Task Force’s mission of ensuring the safe, humane, legal, and transparent care and custody of law of war detainees. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll.

“Pre-deployment training was integral to a successful mission,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Anderson, executive officer for PSU 307.

But it wasn’t just all work for this crew. PSU 307 deployed in April 2016 and spent many holidays abroad, including a very special Thanksgiving.

“We hosted the commandant of the Coast Guard for Thanksgiving,” said Anderson.

He said hosting U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft and his wife, Fran DeNinno, was an experience he would not forget.

PSU 307 was in Guantanamo for Hurricane Matthew as well.

“We got lucky,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class George Lehr.

A Port Security Unit 307 member embraces his wife and newborn child after returning home from a nine-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Feb. 27, 2017. While deployed, PSU 307 members provided maritime defense of military operations, facilities and personnel in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll.

A Port Security Unit 307 member embraces his wife and newborn child after returning home from a nine-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Feb. 27, 2017. While deployed, PSU 307 members provided maritime defense of military operations, facilities and personnel in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll.

He said the internet on base had been upgraded, and the crew was able to reach back to their families to make sure they survived the hurricane.

“It was a big relief that a Category 4 hurricane wasn’t going to hit us directly,” he said.

The eye of Hurricane Matthew was 50 miles away from where the unit was deployed.

Through all the missed holidays and the worry of a hurricane, the families were definitely happy to have their loved ones home.

“This was my second deployment, so my family knew what to expect,” said Lehr, “but it was really good to see my wife and hug my kids.”

A Port Security Unit 307 member receives a warm welcome from his dog, Layla, after returning home from a nine-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Feb. 27, 2017. While deployed, PSU 307 members provided maritime defense of military operations, facilities and personnel in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll.

A Port Security Unit 307 member receives a warm welcome from his dog, Layla, after returning home from a nine-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Feb. 27, 2017. While deployed, PSU 307 members provided maritime defense of military operations, facilities and personnel in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll.

PSU 307 maintains garrison facilities as a tenant command of Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater. The unit was commissioned May 8, 1999. The unit has mobilized 10 times since its inception, including to Boston in 2001, New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Kuwait in 2001 and 2004, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2002, 2008, and 2016.

The fire department at Air Station Clearwater, Fla., gives the arriving plane a water salute on Monday, Feb. 27, 2016. Port Security Unit 307 arrived at Air Station Clearwater after a nine-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll.

The fire department at Air Station Clearwater, Fla., gives the arriving plane a water salute on Monday, Feb. 27, 2016. Port Security Unit 307 arrived at Air Station Clearwater after a nine-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll.

Do you know someone who embodies the Coast Guard Core Values of Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty? Please submit your nominations using the “Submit Ideas” link on the right.

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