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Commander, Naval Forces Europe Visits USS San Jacinto

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080110-12
Release Date: 1/10/2008 5:04:00 PM

By David Holmes, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, Commander, Naval Forces Europe visited USS San Jacinto (CG 59) Jan. 9 to congratulate them on their role of bringing maritime strategy to life.

"We're focused South. We're focused East," said Fitzgerald, who recently released his 2008 maritime strategic guidance. "We have to make sure we maintain our enduring partnerships we have in Europe, but we've got to be able to reach out and be able to prevent that next war. By doing this engagement that we're doing in Africa, the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean, we start to develop the partnerships necessary for the future."

The guided missile cruiser's recent port call to Dakar, Senegal proved invaluable while the ship's engineering team assisted in repairs to the Senegal Navy's patrol craft Matelot Ourmar Ndoye. Diesel engine preventative maintenance training was given by San Jacinto, and repairs to the patrol craft's speed regulating valve were made. Before the repairs the patrol craft's top speed was just 7 knots, afterwards the craft was able to reach a top speed of 19 knots, according to a crew member.

The following day of training, San Jacinto and Senegalese sailors participated in a Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) exercise involving the repaired patrol craft. The exercise displayed and executed specific techniques involving approach, boarding and searching a vessel.

"It was exciting to work with people who were so enthused to be there and want to take part in [the training]," said Aviation Warfare 1st Class(SW/AW) Brian Trippett. "It was really neat to see the look on their faces."

Trippett, a Search and Rescue (SAR) swimmer from Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 48 attached to San Jacinto, was part of a training team that held SAR exercises with the Senegalese involving the ship and the helicopter detachment.

"It's a challenge. It's a hard job. But I think it will make you feel very satisfied at the end of the cruise when you look back at all the different things that you were able to do out here on the tip of the spear," said Fitzgerald.

San Jacinto deployed Nov. 28 with the Harry S. Truman Strike Group and is participating in a deployment to Africa and Europe. While in the region it served as a premier platform for the Africa Partnership Station, which performs safety and security training with militaries from African nations located on Africa's western coast.

For more news from Commander U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Sixth Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.



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