Lt. Cmdr. Bradford Clark relieved Lt. Cmdr. Saladin Shelton as the commanding officer of Maritime Safety and Security Team Miami (91114) during a formal change of command ceremony at the unit July 15.
Rear Adm. Keith Smith, deputy commander of U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, presided over the ceremony.
Shelton is now reporting to the J54 Security Cooperation section at U.S. Southern Command in Doral, Florida. A native of East Orange, New Jersey, he began his career as an enlisted member serving on a patrol boat in New York before training and serving as a health services technician. He received his commission in 2006, serving at various shoreside assignments in the U.S. Coast Guard’s search and rescue, international maritime, and law enforcement communities.
Of note, during his time at MSST Miami, Shelton oversaw 60 deployments covering 600 days in support of missions spanning 20 domestic and foreign operating areas to include high-profile events such as the 46th Presidential Inauguration and United Nations General Assembly.
Despite the austere conditions posed by the global pandemic, he led the most frequently recurring maritime presidential security mission in history. Under his guidance, collaborating with U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Secret Service, MSST Miami completed 3,000 hours of security zone enforcement, serving as the cornerstone to the no-fail contingency plan.
MSST Miami also contributed to three record-setting hurricane seasons, and through increased boat crew qualifications, enabled Atlantic Area to increase response by 100 percent, accounting for 417 lives saved or assisted.
Committed to the Western Hemisphere Strategy’s priority of securing maritime borders, Shelton liaised across the Department of Homeland Security to expand pursuit efforts along the Southwest Border. By increasing joint operations by 300 percent, the team at MSST Miami prevented the incursion of 74 foreign vessels from conducting illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, the apprehension of 30 drug smugglers, and seizure of 5,894 kilograms of cocaine valued at $223 million.
Clark is a native of Letart, West Virginia, earning his commission through the officer candidate school program in 2009. Clark also has a background in search and rescue and law enforcement with several sector and MSST tours as well as U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters policy around the use of boat forces.
In January 2005, the Coast Guard commissioned MSST Miami. Since that time, the unit has developed a stellar reputation in military and law enforcement operations domestically and overseas. The unit is recognized as a Deployable Specialized Force, operating under U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area. MSST Miami personnel conduct operations locally, support maritime security missions worldwide, and rapidly deploy in response to emergent threats or the country’s needs.
The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition deeply rooted in U.S. Coast Guard and Naval history, signifying the total transfer of responsibility, authority, and command of a military unit.