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Security Unit Heads for Guantanamo

January 16, 2002

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) _ A Coast Guard Port Security Unit was deployed Wednesday to the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to provide security to U.S. military vessels entering or leaving the bay.

Fifty al-Qaida and Taliban prisoners are being held at the remote facility and 30 more were to arrive from Afghanistan late Wednesday.

For security reasons, the Coast Guard would not say how many members departed Wednesday, or were to be deployed Thursday. PSU Unit 305 is authorized to deploy with up to 117 people.

Most members are reservists based at the Army’s Fort Eustis. They will be on duty for an unspecified amount of time.

``I told my (8-year-old) son when he walks through his school to hold his head up high and tell ’em that his mom is off wearing the combat boots and doing what she is supposed to be doing,″ said Pam Moore, 36, a reservist boatswain’s mate from Richmond.

PSU 305 is one of six Coast Guard units trained to provide port security and harbor defense for U.S. and allied naval ships deployed overseas.

Each unit is equipped with weapons and six boats _ 25-foot Boston Whalers with twin 175-horsepower outboard engines.

Most recently, PSU 305 was deployed to New York where it patrolled the harbor after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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