PATRICK SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla. --
“Waterborne security is just as important as our defenders protecting our installation gates,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jared Hay, 45th Security Forces Squadron Marine Patrol Unit noncommissioned officer in charge. “It ensures that only authorized personnel are able to gain access to the installation and protects our people and resources from all threats.”
The 45th SFS has been ramping up its marine patrol unit (MPU) by training defenders on maritime operations with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA.) Twelve defenders graduated the NASBLA boat crew member course at PSFB Florida, April 15, certifying them as marine patrolmen.
“The 45th SFS has always treated installation security seriously, especially with how we secure our coastal restricted area,” said Hay. “After completing a threat assessment, we decided to increase our patrol presence by ensuring defenders have the proper training and skills to safely and efficiently meet mission objectives in the water.”
Hay explained that having this training allows defenders to be a force multiplier by strengthening defense efforts on the river and seas surrounding PSFB and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
“The boat crew member course teaches defenders how to safely navigate inland waterways and how to properly utilize vessel equipment,” Hay said. “Having the knowledge and skills to operate this equipment is vital, especially while operating patrol vessels in the shallow and unpredictable waters of the Banana River.”
The MPU patrols the 4.2 miles of PSFB’s coastline along the Banana River extending 600 feet from the shoreline. The western coastline of CCSFS is also patrolled from the Banana River to the Barge Canal.
One threat of particular concern are those posed by near peer adversaries, Hay said.
“Space exploration is at an all-time high in the U.S. and by our adversaries,” he said. “We cannot ignore or underestimate their capabilities to interfere with the Space Launch Delta 45 mission. The primary responsibility of the MPU is to detect, deter and defeat any threat against personnel and resources that could interfere with SLD 45’s mission.”
Hay said that security is assured through a layered effort which includes patrols along the waterways around PSFB and CCSFS, as well as random antiterrorism measures. The MPU’s also provide assistance to the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies to help provide security during launch operations.
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Christopher Sharer, 45th SFS installation patrolman and one of the 12 students that completed the BCM course, said the training made him a more confident boat operator and marine patrolman.
“Many of us went from zero knowledge of anything boat related to understanding and being able to conduct boat operations while operating marine patrol vessels,” said Scharer. “Given that the entire western border of our installations is water, it is very important to have waterborne capabilities. Not only are we able to deter vessels, but we also have the capability of pursuing potential threats.”
While 12 defenders graduated last month, Hay said the 45th SFS is not stopping there. The goal is to have 12 defenders attend the NASBLA BCM course annually to ensure full-time maritime security for PSFB and CCSFS.
“Protecting our installations means everything to us,” said Scharer. “We take our duties very seriously and we’re excited to have these new capabilities to bring to the fight.”