KINGS BAY, Ga. (NNS) -- The U.S. Coast Guard commissioned the Maritime Force Protection Unit (MFPU) July 24 at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.
The unit, the first of its kind, was officially activated during a formal commissioning ceremony presided over by Vice Adm. D. Brian Peterman, commander of the Coast Guard's Atlantic Area.
"This is a new and unique mission," Peterman said during his commissioning remarks. He also praised the Navy for helping develop training, techniques and specialized equipment for the new mission from scratch. "It shows a great relationship with the Navy and Coast Guard."
The Coast Guard unit will provide enhanced security for the Trident submarines (SSBN) within their homeport transit area. Tridents generally operate on the surface during transit and the MFPU will provide additional security measures while operating under these conditions.
Commanding officer of the new unit Cmdr. Alan Reagan said the first 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Sea Dragon will arrive in November. An additional cutter, smaller patrol craft, and around 200 additional Coastguardsmen are scheduled to arrive at the strategic, coastal Georgia submarine base within the next two to three years he said.
"The unit's mission is extremely critical to national security," Reagan said.
MFPU Kings Bay is a single-mission unit that has specially trained and equipped Coast Guard personnel to man and operate escort vessels procured by the Navy specifically for that use. The unit will have broad law enforcement authority, including the authority to establish, patrol, and enforce exclusionary zones, naval vessel protective zones, restricted navigation areas, and security zones supporting naval operations.
"Maritime Force Protection Unit Kings Bay provides an invaluable service to the Navy and our nation through its unique ability to exercise the Coast Guard's law enforcement authorities while enforcing a naval vessel protective zone," said Peterman. "Maritime force protection is crucial if our nation's strategic naval assets are to safely operate in close proximity to vessel traffic in confined bodies of water."
A second unit is scheduled for commissioning in Bangor, Wash., July 26.
For more news from Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/subasekb/.