Coasties and Marines "shield" Charleston

20 Apr 2002 | Cpl. Zachary A. Crawford

U.S. Coast Guardsmen, Marines and civilian law enforcers took fortified positions here and hosted one of the largest waterborne maritime exercises ever held in the port city.Approximately 50 Coast Guardsmen from Camp Lejeune's Port Security Training Detachment (TRADET) and more than 100 Marines from the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism), joined hands with federal and state law enforcement agencies here to practice anti-terrorism and port security during Exercise Harbor Shield-02.During the exercise, the Marines focused on specific landside, pier, and port security tactics, techniques, and procedures. The guardsmen served as port security instructors as well as opposing force role players during the 48-hour final portion.The commanding officer of the Coast Guard Group here said a few things about training and tactics practiced during the weeklong event."You will always fight like you train," said Cmdr. Jim Tunstall, during a local press conference here. "You have to walk before you run. That's what we're doing here. We're learning to walk. Since this is a fairly new concept working with so many different agencies, I think this will be a successful exercise if everyone comes out of it unharmed and we have a long list of lessons learned."The commander of the Marines said his troops during the training evolution were focused on their own set of tactics."The training we're doing here is aimed at sharpening our skills when dealing with the protection of foreign as well as (United States) naval assets," said Brig. Gen. Douglas V. O'Dell, 4th MEB's (AT) commanding general, about working with the Coast Guard. "The tactics we are practicing are used both in and out of the United States when dealing with anti-terrorism."Odell also talked about the difficulties responding to terrorist attacks."Terrorism is one of the great dangers to people who want to live in a good and stable society," said O'Dell. "We are doing everything we can to prevent that. Our number one issue is the detection of terrorists and terrorism. That is what we do all day, everyday."Lieutenant Junior Grade Jason Goodman, the operations officer at Lejeune's Coast Guard detachment (TRADET), talked about how he saw the exercise through his eyes. He was a member of the evaluating element "white cell.""As the 'white cell' coordinator, we made sure events go on time and as planned. We also made sure everything and everybody was safe during the exercise and finally. We evaluated the response from the friendly forces, in this case, the 4th MEB, as they dealt with the opposing forces," said Goodman. "For the TRADET, this training will help us develop better training packages for the Coast Guard such as our new package for the Marine Safety and Security Teams."Lt. Col. James Larivier, 4th MEB's plans officer, said the training helped the brigade learn from a group of seasoned veterans."Our job as far as the MEB is concerned, is to deter, detect, and defend against terrorism and the Coast Guard has always had the responsibility of Port Security," said. "While training out here we are practicing tactics, techniques and procedures while working with the Coast Guard so we can better provide the physical security whenever they need us."Harbor Shield also served as a mission rehearsal for the Coast Guard's newly formed Marine Safety and Security Teams (MSSTs). The MSSTs are responsible for waterborne security operations at ports within the United States.