Reservist

ISS1 2019

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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New training cycle better prepares PSUs for deployments worldwide Story by District Seven Reserve Public Affairs Team Photos by Petty Of•cer 1st Class Sara Romero On a clear day in March, in the Port of Tampa Bay in Florida, four 32-foot transportable port security boats guided a simulated high-value asset into port as a second hostile vessel, also simulated, aggressively closed in on the high-value asset. From camouflaged, fixed-battle positions shore side, Coast Guard members, armed with locked and loaded .50 caliber M2HB machine guns, watched the encroaching hostile vessel, ready to engage as the situation escalated. This dramatic scene was a snapshot of Coast Guardsmen of Port Security Unit 301, a reserve unit based out of Cape Cod, Mass., on the waters in the port of Tampa Bay in Tampa, Fla., March 11, as part of a field training exercise for an upcoming overseas deployment. In preparation, PSU 301 is one of the first units implementing a new five- phased readiness approach called the PSU Deployment Preparation Cycle, meant to better prepare units for deployment to ports and waterways. In the Coast Guard, PSUs are deployable units that do just what the name implies—they operate as organized, deployable units capable of conducing force protection operations at ports and harbors worldwide. PSUs may operate independently or alongside the Navy as part of Maritime Expeditionary Security Forces in foreign waters. "As a reserve unit, even with the sixty drills and extra active duty training, it would be difficult to take a unit from nothing and try to qualify it within a year," said Lt. Cmdr. James Thach, executive officer for PSU 301. "That's why this new five-phased approach is so valuable; it allows us to be prepared." The PSU Deployment Preparation Cycle is a broad framework that provides flexibility in determining how PSUs will meet operational demands. It provides a deliberate, phased system that takes a unit and prepares them for a deployment. "It's a steady progression that starts with the most basic skills and builds up until they are at their most certified point by acquiring all the advanced skills required for port security units," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel J. Benoit, the Ready For Operations trainer at the Special Mission Training Center and the leader of the team that developed the training cycle. Listed below is an overview of each phase in the cycle as outlined in the Coast Guard Port Security Unit Program Manual that leaders like Thach have guided units like PSU 301 through. Phase I The start of the cycle focuses on the transition and reconstitution of unit personnel and equipment, as well as providing individuals with required initial training. At this point in the cycle, units are considered "not ready" for operations but may be able to support adaptive force packages with qualified personnel at the risk of unit readiness. Members of PSU 301 load ammunition into a .50 caliber M2HB machine gun from a xed battle position during a Field Training Exercise in the Port of Tampa Bay on Monday, March 11. PSU 301 Shoreside Security Division members man a simulated xed battle position as part of the unit's Field Training Exercise (FTX) in the Port of Tampa Bay, Fla. The real-time FTX is the nal opportunity to evaluate the PSU members before deploying overseas to conduct an anti-terrorism force protection patrol. 12 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2019

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