Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cruise this - Coast Guard marksmen ready for SF Bay terrorism

Bee Staff

If terrorists attempt to take over a cruise ship or any other act on San Francisco Bay, they will be met with an armed response via helicopter in addition to surface ships.

The added security from the U.S. Coast Guard went into effect in February, according to a new release.

"Imagine a USS Cole-like attack on a cruise ship, on the San Francisco Bay ferry system, on our bridges," said Cmdr. Samuel Creech, commanding officer of Air Station San Francisco. "We want the opportunity to do more than shake our head and shake our fists..."

The station's MH-65 "Dolphin" helicopters can be equipped with M-14T rifles and machine guns, he said. The station has eight "highly trained gunners" available on short notice.

"The training make precise marksmen," said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael S. Conrad, who has been qualified as a marksmen since 2005 and is serving as an instructor. "Hopefully we will have to use the (marksmen), but I know that the right people are in place..."