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U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Unit 307 Honored With 2011 Dod Reserve Family Readiness Award

Rep. C. W. Bill Young

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Mr. Speaker, I rise to salute the men and women of U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Unit 307 who are being honored this morning at the Pentagon with the 2011 Department of Defense Reserve Family Readiness Award.

This award recognizes that the readiness of our military units to deploy anywhere in the world is only as good as the support they receive from and the support they provide to the families they leave behind. Port Security Unit 307, from Clearwater, Florida which I proudly represent, has excelled at taking care of its families. Commissioned in May 1999, Port Security Unit 307 knows the meaning of readiness. They are charged with being ready to deploy anywhere in the world within 96 hours and they are the only Port Security Unit to meet this standard in the international arena.

They also know about deployments as they have been deployed repeatedly to help secure our domestic ports following 9 11, to support the ports we operate from abroad, and even to provide port security operations for humanitarian operations such as those in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010. In fact, Port Security Unit 307, under the leadership of its commanding officer Commander James Wallace, just returned last month from a six-month deployment to the Middle East in support of Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom. There they provided security for port locations around the North Arabian Gulf to ensure the free flow of personnel, equipment and commerce in the region. The unit worked side-by-side with the Navy and its Maritime Expeditionary Squadron Three to provide strategic support in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

It takes months of training and preparation for a unit to ready itself for a deployment of this magnitude. Most important though to Commander Wallace and his unit is the preparation they provide to ready the families for their deployment. Port Security Unit 307 has been a key participant in the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. This is a Department of Defense-wide effort to help the members of National Guard and Reserve units and their families to locate resources available to them and their families before, during and after deployments. In addition to these services, the families of Port Security Unit 307 also participated in a mid-deployment Yellow Ribbon event to assist families.

The unit's leadership stayed in touch with the families throughout the deployment by producing regular newsletters outlining its missions and responsibilities. They also host an annual Family Day and Open House each summer so the families can interact with each other. Commander Wallace says the most important part of that weekend is the opportunity for him and his leaders to say thank you to the families and their friends for the invaluable support they provide their loved ones.

Mr. Speaker, we can never fully repay the men and women who serve our nation in uniform and the families they leave behind as they go into harm's way. We can, however, salute the units that have excelled at taking care of their loved ones during their deployments and no unit does it better than U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Unit 307. I commend their record of service to my colleagues here in the House and I hope you will join me in saying thank you to each one of them for a job well done.