Coastal Defense Unleashed: Operation Neptune's Storm unites military and local law enforcement in Tampa Bay

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Lauren Cobin
Tampa Bay witnessed an impressive display of maritime power as Operation Neptune’s Storm, a large-scale joint maritime demonstration led by the 6th Security Forces Squadron Marine Patrol Unit, took place in Hillsborough Bay, May 17, 2023.

As one of the few Air Force installations with a marine patrol unit dedicated to securing its shores 24/7, MacDill has the unique challenge of protecting its own coastline in order to carry out its mission of generating global air refueling support.

Seventeen vessels launched into the bay to deliver hope and project lethality as a collaborative effort between Tampa’s community, state, local and federal partners. The mission of the operation was to strengthen coordination, response capabilities, and mutual understanding between the agencies.

The 6th Mission Support Group commander, Col. Jason Parker, emphasized the significance of Operation Neptune's Storm in enhancing regional security.

"This operation demonstrated the collective strength and preparedness of our partners in safeguarding our coastlines,” said Parker. “Operation Neptune's Storm highlights the seamless coordination between military, state, and local agencies to protect our national interests and ensure the safety of our communities.”

The maritime exercise involved several military assets, including boats, jet skis, helicopters and personnel from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard. However, it was not just the military involved in this impressive display of readiness. Several law enforcement agencies joined forces to ensure the success of the operation.

Agencies such as the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Manatee County Sheriff's Office and the Tampa Police Department played integral roles in the demonstration.

The involvement of these agencies highlighted the commitment and importance of cooperation in maintaining regional security. Each agency brought their unique expertise and resources to the table, contributing to the overall success of the event.

Captain Toyre Hudson from 6th MSG emphasized the significance of collaboration among agencies.

He stated, “Operation Neptune's Storm provided us with an opportunity to work hand-in-hand with other law enforcement agencies. By pooling our resources and expertise, we enhance our ability to protect and serve our communities effectively."

Operation Neptune's Storm served as a testament to the commitment and readiness of Tampa's community, state, local, and federal partners to overcome any challenges and emerge victorious in the face of potential threats. The operation concluded successfully, leaving the participants and onlookers with a sense of reassurance and confidence in the region’s collective security efforts.