Spouses in service: New ombudsman for PSU 313

By Lt. Ian Stewart

Matt and Carmela Fortin

Matt and Carmela Fortin

Mrs. Carmela Fortin and 5-year-old Cole, her special assistant, were honored by the crew of Port Security Unit 313 for Ombudsman Appreciation Day at their March drill weekend in Everett, Wash.

The Coast Guard Ombudsman Program is a command program intended to improve communication between the command and the Coast Guard family members. Coast Guard ombudsmen are communication links, provide information and referral resources and act as advocates for family members. COMDTINST 1750.4E provides details of Coast Guard Ombudsman Program.

A Coast Guard Reserve spouse and a volunteer appointed by Cmdr. James Hotchkiss, commanding officer of PSU 313, Carmela is already actively engaged in her role sharing valuable information with families. She accepted the Ombudsman role in February to be a friendly and informative point of contact and resource for our unit’s 140 members and their military families, including spouses, parents and children.

Cole Fortin

Cole Fortin

Petty Officer 2nd Class Matt Fortin, a boatswain’s mate and coxswain at the unit on the 32-foot Transportable Port Security Boat, is Carmela’s husband.

PSU 313 was commissioned Dec. 12, 1998. Crews are deployable to anywhere in the world to maintain port security both during wartime and peacetime. They are self sustainable for 30 days. It has a command and control staff in addition to the divisions for boats, security, communications, weapons, engineering, logistics, food service and a medical staff.

In 2011 PSU 313 conducted a six month deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom to provide landward and seaward security at strategic port locations around the Northern Arabian Gulf. This action ensured the free flow of personnel, equipment and commerce in the region. In February 2003, PSU 313 was deployed to support Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. They provided security for an Iraqi oil platform in Northern Iraq. PSU 313 has been previously called to service in Operation Desert Storm and in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313 members, their new ombudsman, Carmela Fortin, and Master Chief Petty Officer Eric Johnson, the Coast Guard reserve force master chief, pause for a group picture after a morning brief at Naval Station Everett, Wash., Feb. 21, 2015. The PSU maintains port security during wartime and peacetime, deploying to occupied foreign ports to conduct security operations, as well as maintaining security for domestic ports as necessary. (U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross)

Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313 members, their new ombudsman, Carmela Fortin, and Master Chief Petty Officer Eric Johnson, the Coast Guard reserve force master chief, pause for a group picture after a morning brief at Naval Station Everett, Wash., Feb. 21, 2015. U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross.

To learn more about the Ombudsman Program and how you can support your ombudsman visit http://www.uscg.mil/ombudsman.

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