Everyday Heroes tasked with Extraordinary Duties

 

Boat crews from Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313in Everett, Wash., conduct high-speed boat maneuvers and safety zone drills during an exercise at Naval Station Everett July 22, 2015.  The exercise was held in an effort to fine tune their capabilities in constructing and running entry control points, establishing perimeter security, and maintaining waterside security and safety zones.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford.

Boat crews from Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313in Everett, Wash., conduct high-speed boat maneuvers and safety zone drills during an exercise at Naval Station Everett July 22, 2015.
The exercise was held in an effort to fine tune their capabilities in constructing and running entry control points, establishing perimeter security, and maintaining waterside security and safety zones.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford.

U.S. Coast Guard story by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford

U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313, based out of Everett, Washington, recently conducted a readiness exercise with their entire crew. The unit gathered together to ensure that they are able to meet expectations as an expeditionary unit that can be called upon in a moment’s notice.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Martin, Petty Officer 3rd Class Cody Castle Lt. Jeffery Kistler and Petty Officer 3rd Class Christian Walters, members of Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313 in Everett, Wash., discuss the capabilities and operation of the M2 .50-caliber machine gun during an exercise at Naval Station Everett July 22, 2015.  Since PSU 313’s formal commissioning in 1998, crewmembers have been activated in support of World Trade Organization conferences, Department of Defense exercises, the response to the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and humanitarian missions.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Martin, Petty Officer 3rd Class Cody Castle Lt. Jeffery Kistler and Petty Officer 3rd Class Christian Walters, members of Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313 in Everett, Wash., discuss the capabilities and operation of the M2 .50-caliber machine gun during an exercise at Naval Station Everett July 22, 2015.
Since PSU 313’s formal commissioning in 1998, crewmembers have been activated in support of World Trade Organization conferences, Department of Defense exercises, the response to the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and humanitarian missions.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford.

The inherent design of a PSU is to be a deployable expeditionary unit that can be anywhere in the world within 96 hours. Outside of the continental United States (OCONUS), they conduct port security operations and provide waterside security for key assets that include pier areas, high-value vessels and harbor entrances.

One unique feature about a PSU compared to other Coast Guard units is that it consists primarily of reserve members. These are men and women who have careers outside of the Coast Guard and still are able to effectively complete their expansive PSU mission.

“The PSU is a valuable asset for the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan Gere, boatswain’s mate and lead petty officer of the waterside security division, PSU 313. Jordan, who is also a middle school special education teacher, says the crew’s outside experience helps when conducting their Coast Guard missions. “Each member of the unit, whether they are police officers, corrections officers, musicians, teachers or college students, bring something beneficial to the table.”

Some members are also gaining valuable insight and experience while stationed at the PSU.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Martin, a maritime enforcement specialist at Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313 in Everett, Wash., along with other security division members, set up security zones on the pier alongside the Coast Guard Cutter Henry Blake, while conducting an exercise at Naval Station Everett July 22, 2015.  Since its establishment in 1998, PSU 313 has been involved in some of the most significant operations in recent military history including being on station Sept. 12, 2001, for military operations in Washington State. They were also involved in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, operations in Guantanamo Bay and the earthquake response in Haiti.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Martin, a maritime enforcement specialist at Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313 in Everett, Wash., along with other security division members, set up security zones on the pier alongside the Coast Guard Cutter Henry Blake, while conducting an exercise at Naval Station Everett July 22, 2015.
Since its establishment in 1998, PSU 313 has been involved in some of the most significant operations in recent military history including being on station Sept. 12, 2001, for military operations in Washington State. They were also involved in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, operations in Guantanamo Bay and the earthquake response in Haiti.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford.

We do have a lot of people from various backgrounds, including law enforcement, firefighters and other fields that bring some great qualities and insight from their civilian career to their jobs here at the PSU,” says Chief Petty Officer Ryan Olson, security division chief, PSU 313. “It works the other way too because some of these guys are learning skills here at the PSU that they are taking back to their civilian jobs.”

Being limited to 60 drills per year, which comes out to 30 days, plus their two weeks of active duty, PSU members are actually performing Coast Guard duties for a little more than a month every year.

Considering the amount of time members typically spend at the PSU, excluding time spent on deployment, outside experience is highly appreciated.

“Some members of the crew bring expertise, both gained in their Coast Guard craft and acquired from their civilian careers that help advance training opportunities,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nan Silverman-Wise, executive officer, PSU 313. “We have members of law enforcement including federal, state and local, (Emergency Medical Technicians), nurses, emergency managers and others from various backgrounds here at the PSU.”

Petty Officer 3rd Class Alexander Manning, a boatwain’s mate with Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313 in Everett, Wash., pretends to antagonize another boat crew during a recent exercise at Naval Station Everett July 22, 2015.  There are currently six 32-foot transportable port security boats (TPSB) assigned to PSU 313.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Alexander Manning, a boatwain’s mate with Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313 in Everett, Wash., pretends to antagonize another boat crew during a recent exercise at Naval Station Everett July 22, 2015.
There are currently six 32-foot transportable port security boats (TPSB) assigned to PSU 313.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford.

“Often, our members will add to our baseline training with their personal experiences and expertise,” said Silverman-Wise. “They demonstrate their leadership abilities, share their diverse set of skills and experiences, and exhibit an incredible desire and drive to be here and help our team as a whole to be the best at what they do.”

Balancing the two careers is an issue faced by most reservists and according to Nan-Silverman, the reserve members at the PSU are no different. “It is two careers, no question there and I think considering our civilian experiences helps us manage the two careers but the discipline inherent to the Coast Guard helps folks manage time and set priorities,” said Silverman-Wise who, in her civilian career, is a project manager living in Maryland. “It can be tough, but the unit camaraderie at a PSU makes coming to drill enjoyable – you want to see your ‘Coast Guard family’ and check in with them. When it comes down to it, I think members really inspire and support each other.”

Click here to see more photos of members of PSU 313 training together in Washington.

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