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Exclusive: How the U.S. Coast Guard protects our shores from latest threats

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NEW YORK (PIX11) -- It was a Homeland Security mission in New York Harbor. Executive Petty Officer of the Ridley, BMC James Ryan Dawson, gave us our introduction to the Coast Guard cutter, and to their mission.

"When we get on these vessels to do security boardings, we really don't know who's on them," said Dawson.  PIX11 News got an exclusive ride with the crew of the Ridley. We couldn't know the route, we only knew we were in for some ride, taking off from Staten Island.

On this day, the Coast Guard crew was doing random checks of boats. As the special guest for the day, we got a tour of their home while they are on the water.

One of the most important parts of the cutter? Where FS2 Charles Gasaway is, he's been trained to make sure everyone eats properly. They are like a family, there are smiles of course, but this is a serious mission, and there's no way to forget it.

When they're on the water, there's no threat they're not ready for.

At the end of the mission, we said our goodbyes, a day we will never forget.