U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Unit (PSU) 305 servicemembers returned to Joint Base Langley Eustis Thursday following a nine-month deployment to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, where the unit served as the Maritime Security Detachment (MARSECDET) in support of Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO).
This was PSU 305’s fifth and final port security mission at JTF-GTMO. PSU 305 was the first PSU to deploy to Guantanamo in 2002 to stand up the MARSECDET shortly after the September 11th, 2001 attacks.
Coast Guard PSUs and Maritime Safety and Security Teams have provided maritime Anti-Terrorism Force Protection (ATFP) for JTF-GTMO. After 21 years, Coast Guard priorities are evolving, requiring the PSUs to perform their ATFP duties in new operational theaters.
From September 2022 to May 2023, PSU 305 boat crews provided 5,182 combined unit operational hours of around-the-clock seaward ATFP security and conducted 168 vessel escorts, 142 passenger transports, and supported multiple VIP visits, including that of the Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Linda L. Fagan.
“I am honored to have led and served with this incredible group of men and women,” said Cmdr. James V. Lovenstein, commanding officer of PSU 305. “Our members answered the call of our nation to sacrifice time away from their families, friends, and civilian jobs in support of the security of our nation. While deployed, members of PSU 305 executed their no-fail mission flawlessly, with honor, respect, and devotion to duty. We are all looking forward to celebrating the decommissioning of MARSECDET here in GTMO and being back home with our friends and families. I am truly thankful and proud to have been a part of PSU 305; it has been the highlight of my career to have led such a distinguished group of individuals.”
PSU 305 worked seamlessly with partners across the Department of Defense, designing training evolutions for Navy Harbor Patrol Unit and Marine Corps Security Forces in the defense mission of JTF GTMO. PSU 305 planned and prepared their naval counterparts for the turnover of responsibility, which occurred in May.
The unit collaborated and facilitated multiple joint training events with their DoD counterparts, encompassing practical exercises such as joint intruder drills, casualty evacuation drills, entry control point drills, and over 40 courses of live-fire qualification ranges, including various fixed, mobile, and small-arms weapon systems.
PSU 305 members contributed to the community throughout their deployment by collectively volunteering over 4,390 hours during their off-duty time with organizations on base such as the Red Cross. They also participated in beach cleanups, led base-wide Morale, Welfare and Recreation events, and taught martial arts classes. Many members took advantage of online courses leading to certifications and bachelor’s and master’s degree programs while deployed to JTF GTMO.
Commissioned in 1995, PSU 305 is one of eight strategically positioned PSUs. PSUs are Coast Guard Reserve-staffed units that support our nation with well-equipped, trained, and organized expeditionary forces that can rapidly deploy worldwide for anti-terrorism and force protection operations or in defense of high-value assets. Eight PSUs are strategically positioned throughout the country and assigned to the Coast Guard Pacific Area commander in Alameda, California.
JTF-GTMO is a U.S. Southern Command task force responsible for the safe, humane, legal care and custody of law of armed conflict detainees; collection and dissemination of intelligence; and supporting Military Commissions, Periodic Review Boards, and Habeas review.