West Africa Training Cruise
The the West Africa Training Cruise is a cooperative maritime exercise that includes port visits by US naval assets. US Navy visits to Sub-Saharan Africa furthers the Navy's working relationship with African navies and allows for unique training and exercises that are beneficial to participating maritime forces.
US Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit Number Seven (NEPMU-7) provided preventive medicine instruction to five West African nations during West Africa Training Cruise (WATC) 99. Course topics included HIV/AIDS Awareness, Medical Management of Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBR) Casualties and Preventive Medicine in disaster settings. USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) hosted WATC 99, making port visits in South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, Ghana, and Cote d'Ivoire. WATC 99, which lasted the entire month of November, featured multinational training in amphibious operations with Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force, environmental protection and oil spill control training with the U.S. Coast Guard, and medical training by representatives from the U.S. Navy's Medical Department.
USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) completed the month-long West Africa Training Cruise '99 (WATC '99) on Nov. 29. The Little Creek, Va., homeported ship had 340 embarked Marines of II Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Forces (II MEF MARFOR) from Camp Lejeune, N.C. Carter Hall conducted maritime exercises with the Togolese navy. The French frigate Le Henaff, also operating in the vicinity, joined the exercise. The purpose of WATC '99 was to foster a spirit of cooperation between naval forces of the United States and participating West African nations.
United States Navy construction specialists from Naval Base Rota, Spain deployed to Ghana from March through May 2000 to build a medical and dental clinic with Ghanaian military engineers. The clinic, located in Sekondi, Ghana, was a humanitarian civil assistance initiative authorized under Title 10 U.S. Code. It addressed a need for a modern medical facility for members of the Sekondi community, and was a cooperative effort in its construction between the Ghanaian and American armed forces. For the Rota-based construction specialists, or SeaBees (so-named because they belong to naval construction battalions or CBs), the deployment was called West Africa Training Cruise 2000 (WATC 00). The executive agent coordinating the deployment on behalf of U.S. European Command was Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe.
When the Seabees of NMCB-40 deployed for training on the West Africa Training Cruise (WATC) 2001, they embarked on a personal and professional journey that tested both their technical abilities and their resolve. The first American military unit to deploy to Cape Verde for a joint construction and training project of this type, the WATC team met adversity almost literally at the front door. Scheduled originally for 90 days, work on the Cape Verde orphanage was finished ahead of schedule.
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