Ghana Welcomes Africa Partnership Station
Story Number: NNS071119-01
Release Date: 11/19/2007 6:51:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW/SW) RJ Stratchko, Africa Partnership Station Public Affairs
TEMA, Ghana (NNS) -- The second port visit of Africa Partnership Stationâ€™s (APS) seven-month deployment, aboard the Amphibious Dock Landing Ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), arrived in Tema, Nov. 18.
APS is an international effort aiming to enhance regional and maritime safety and security in West and Central Africa.
Although the Navy has conducted training during routine deployments in West Africa for years, the size and focus of the APS mission is new and different.
"While in Ghana, the events that are planned cover a wide spectrum of maritime activities involving some military training to the naval and fishery industries, small boat courses, maintenance, force protection, medical and personnel protection courses. We also will do some non-military activities including community relations," Cmdr. Nigel May, a British Navy officer, Chief Staff Officer of APS. "We have a team of Seabees from the U.S Navy who are going to build a medical clinic which is to be used by the military population and civilian population, and as a liaison with many of the Aid organizations to enhance the community relations with Ghana."
With APS, training is conducted as requested by the partner countries. In Ghana, that means traditional military training, such as maintenance and small boat handling, plus a handful of specialty areas.
APS includes African, European and American Sailors all on the same staff, working towards a common goal, partnership in maritime safety and security, and is bringing an international team of expert trainers in a variety of military capacities, and a handful of civilian fields such as fisheries management.
"This partnership is a real good thing, because it is enlightening to a lot of people, for them to see the other side of the world, which is Africa. It is very important for us to get this partnership going. You can't just sit back and let it go. You have to build a relationship with people and whatever we have to offer them. They have to take it or leave it. It's up to them," said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Darone Parker.
In addition to his culinary duties, Parker is serving as a translator between English and Akan-speaking communities.
"As an Akan speaking petty officer aboard, I'm assisting with Project Hope, helping the Seabees buying materials in town. I also know the area because I lived in Accra, Ghana for 28 years before joining the U.S. Navy eight years ago," said Parker.
APS is more than training. APS will conduct large community relations projects in each of the countries visited.
APS 2007 is a U.S. Naval Forces Europe-led initiative, executed by a multi-national staff aboard Fort McHenry and High Speed Vessel 2 Swift. Commander Task Group 60.4 and training teams from various U.S. and European military commands, as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations are embarked on board Fort McHenry to enhance cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services in West and Central Africa and the Gulf of Guinea on a seven-month deployment.
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