Military News

Monday, March 02, 2015

MacDill hosts first ever joint port security exercise

by Senior Airman Ned T. Johnston
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

3/2/2015 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 6th Air Mobility Wing hosted two Coast Guard exercises for the Port Security Unit 309 from Feb. 18 through March 1, 2015, at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

The PSU 309, out of Port Clinton, Ohio, is an elite Coast Guard Reserve task force with the unique mission of maintaining readiness to deploy within 96 hours of activation to active-duty status. They provide sustained force protection and port security anywhere in the world.

"The Great Lakes freeze over during the winter months making training difficult," said Coast Guard Lt. Faith Schultz, PSU 309 force protection officer. "By coming to MacDill, we not only maintain proficiency and keep certifications current, but it gives us the opportunity to conduct joint, inter-service training with the Air Force."

The first exercise was a global mobility exercise that tested the 309th's ability to rapidly deploy their people, ships and equipment. The 309th "deployed" their unit to MacDill providing experience for their engineering and mobility crews, and Air Force loadmasters to load and transport equipment.

Furthering their mobility training, the 309th completed additional evolutions involving the loading of 32-foot transportable port security boats into a C-17 Globemaster III in a joint effort with the 6th AMW.

"We were even able to complete the extremely difficult task of loading two TPSBs in a side-by-side configuration, certifying the C-17 for this type of transportation," said Schultz, "potentially reducing the number of aircraft needed to move the unit during a deployment."

The completion of the mobility exercise was just the beginning for PSU 309 and the 6th AMW.

For the remainder of the training, Coast Guard boat crews trained in and around the waters of MacDill with assistance from the 6th Security Forces Squadron marine patrol. The dual ops training consisted of weapon proficiency training, day and night operations, high-speed tactical boat maneuvering and other qualification training.

"Despite some weather related challenges, training was completed on basic and tactical crew operations," said Schultz. "By the end of the exercise, both the Air Force and Coast Guard were fully mission capable."

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