Super Bowl 50

A Coast Guard San Francisco helicopter crew flies near Super Bowl city in San Francisco Feb. 5, 2016.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Adam Stanton.

A Coast Guard San Francisco helicopter crew flies near Super Bowl city in San Francisco Feb. 5, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Adam Stanton.

Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena

Behind all the glitz and glamour of Super Bowl 50 festivities, a group of highly-trained individuals worked to keep San Francisco’s waterways safe for mariners – the Coast Guard.

This year’s Super Bowl was unique and in that most of the major festivities, including Super Bowl City, the NFL Experience and various fireworks displays, were held in San Francisco, while the actual game took place in Santa Clara, almost 60 miles south of the City.

This posed a unique challenge to Coast Guard units assigned to San Francisco. How do they provide security and ensure safety for Super Bowl activities, yet still conduct local day-to-day search-and-rescue, law enforcement and coastal security operations?

Simple, they asked for help.

“In addition to our local Coast Guard forces in San Francisco, we had security and K-9 teams from Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, King’s Bay and San Diego to ensure public safety and protect the maritime domain,” said Cmdr. Matthew Thompson, response chief, Coast Guard Sector San Francisco.

Coast Guard units around the nation were asked to assist Sector San Francisco in providing what the taxpayers expect from the Coast Guard: the ability to tackle the core missions around the Bay Area and provide waterside and shoreside security for Super Bowl activities.

“We brought down 30 people, three boats, engineering and armory support,” said Chief Warrant Officer Aaron Ferguson, future operations at Maritime Safety and Security Team 91101 based in Seattle.

Under normal circumstances, taking 30 Coast Guard members from a unit would cause hardship to the remaining members, but not for an MSST.

“Our unit is fully functional back home,” said Ferguson. “This is exactly what the MSSTs were set up to do – deploy in support of these types of missions.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Hartman, assigned to Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team San Francisco, delivers the agenda for the helicopter acclimation training at Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, in preparation for Super Bowl 50. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Loumania Stewart.

Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Hartman, assigned to Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team San Francisco, delivers the agenda for the helicopter acclimation training at Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, in preparation for Super Bowl 50. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Loumania Stewart.

Along with MSST Seattle, MSST Los Angeles-Long Beach assisted by deploying multiple boatcrews and a Canine Explosives Detection Team.

The role of the CEDT is to non-intrusively screen passengers and areas onboard ferry boats, terminals and in, during this mission, guests arriving at Levi’s Stadium.

“With such a huge event as the Super Bowl taking place, teams from MSST LA/LB were prepared to respond and assist our sister units with ease, as we all train and execute missions in the same manner,” said Lt. j.g. David Figueroa, MSST LA/LB operations officer. “When a host city is inundated with so many people and week-long events taking place on the waterfront, it becomes evident local units will need assistance, and we were happy to assist when called upon.”

With the final whistle of the game and a Broncos win, it marked the end of Coast Guard operations in support of Super Bowl 50. With no waterside incidents to report, this would be considered a successful operation by all agencies involved.

“The Coast Guard, along with our federal, state and local partners, have been planning for Super Bowl 50 since spring 2015,” said Thompson.  “Additionally, as part of the fabric of the maritime community, the Coast Guard has established relationships with maritime industry, such as ferry vessel operators, to ensure safety and security on the waters of the San Francisco Bay.”

 

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