JACKSONVILLE, Fla.— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Air and Marine Operations (AMO), partook in a Flare Recognition and Response training alongside U.S. Coast Guard, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, and St. Augustine Fire Department on the night of February 27. The group of first responders headed underway into the Atlantic Ocean where five vessels, at specific distances, shot various types of flares into the cold 25 mile per hour winds.
“We ended up running this training evolution in less than ideal conditions, but not outside the operational capabilities of our vessels,” said Marine Interdiction Agent Anders Bergstrom. “The silver lining to that is knowing the limitations of the vessels, so when the real emergency occurs, you can properly respond with the right equipment and tested personnel.”
A flare is a type of pyrotechnic that produces a brilliant light without an explosion, used for distress signaling. Since Air and Marine Operations’ Marine Unit normally patrols these waters, they are frequently the first to recognize and respond to distress calls. Being able to quickly distinguish the type of flare, the distance, and the general location of the signal can be the detail that avoids a tragedy.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations (AMO) is a federal law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the American people through advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities. With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft, and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO conducts its mission in the air and maritime environments at and beyond the border, and within the nation's interior.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.