ISS2 2017

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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Combat Operations of Coast Guard PSUs in Operation Iraqi Freedom Story by William H. Thiesen, Ph.D., Historian, Coast Guard Atlantic Area In 2003, during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF), Coast Guard vessels and land-based personnel brought many vital capabilities to the theater of operations, including port security units (PSUs). PSUs are an anti-terrorism, force protection capability staffed by six active-duty members and approximately 130 Coast Guard Reserve personnel. Until recently, each unit came equipped with six twenty-five-foot Transportable Port Security Boats armed with both a 7.62mm and .50 caliber machine gun and powered by twin outboard motors. Prior to OIF, the Coast Guard maintained six (eight today) PSUs tasked with protecting strategic shipping and port facilities, primarily overseas. All had kept busy following the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. The PSUs sent to the Northern Arabian Gulf (NAG) would operate under the command of the Navy's Naval Coast Warfare Group (NCWG) One, which controlled U.S. harbor defense and in-shore boat units. The Coast Guard's Pacific Area (PACAREA) units preparing to deploy to the Middle East included two Coast Guard PSUs. Shortly after Thanksgiving 2002, members of San Pedro, California's PSU 311 learned they would serve in support of OIF and received orders to guard the Mohammad Al-Ahmad Kuwait Naval Base (KNB). It had been only a few months since PSU 311's return (April 2002) from a six-month deployment to the NAG. But by mid-February 2003, the unit packed its gear and began a journey to the Middle East on board aircraft flying from March Air Force Base in Riverside, Calif. PSU 311 arrived at its destination on February 20th. PSU 311's security boat on the Khor Abd Allah Waterway near Umm Qasr. (U.S. Coast Guard photo) Rese R vist Magazine a l ight on Yeste RY ea R 26 RESERVIST � Issue 2 • 2017

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