News: Mission of the Shoreside Security
Story by Spc. Megan Burnham
By Megan Burnham
Joint task Force Guantanamo
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba – When the Coast Guard Reserve's Port Security Unit 307 first arrived to U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, not only were they in charge of manning the transportable port security boats and patrolling the waters, they were also tasked to maintain security in the courtrooms a the Expeditionary Legal Complex here during commissions.
PSU 307 is comprised of two divisions, enabling the unit to complete their role in the Joint Task Force Guantanamo mission both onshore and out on the open waters.
"One of our divisions is a waterborne division where they do water security on the bay," said Lt. j.g. Jesse Webster, internal security officer in charge. "Our other division is a Shoreside division where we're the internal security for the courtrooms."
In the sixth months that the Florida-based unit was deployed here, not much recognition was given to the Shoreside division and their mission on base.
The Shoreside division's main mission was to transport detained enemy combatants, safely and humanely, from building AV-34 near Camp Justice to the courtrooms during commissions.
"Our job is maintaining security during the commissions in the courtroom from the time the detainee arrives until the time he leaves from [AV-34]," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Charles Ferrante, sergeant of guard in the courtroom.
While escorting doesn't seem like a difficult job, it is a job that requires the ability to continually adjust to new and different scenarios on a day-to-day basis.
"When you're doing missions like internal security or anything that involves the courtrooms, it's not a cut-and-dry job," said Webster. "There is always going to be something that changes on a daily basis."
Training was a key task for the Shoreside division during their deployment. The division trained every day when no commissions were scheduled, but made sure to train at least two to three times a week when commissions were going on.
"Our training is based around the safe, humane custody and care of the detainees," said Webster. "We train for any type of scenario to prevent any kind of detainee injuries."
As a majority of the division is in the Florida law enforcement, many had the prior experience to effectively handle detainees during this deployment.
"It's a good learning experience for them," said Webster. "It's a high profile mission and we're making history while were down here."
For many in the division, this was their second deployment to Guantanamo Bay; however, as the unit has been replaced by the PSU 305, it is unsure if the PSU 307 will be returning again in the near future.
"We had a vital role in the commissions process and the overall mission of the JTF," said Webster. "This was my first deployment and it was a unique experience to work with the Navy, the Army, the Air Force and the Marines – it was a treat."