Africa Partnership Station and West Africa Training Cruise Arrives in Liberia
Story Number: NNS080321-12
Release Date: 3/21/2008 1:30:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class(AW/SW) RJ Stratchko, Africa Partnership Station Public Affairs
MONROVIA, Liberia (NNS) -- Africa Partnership Station (APS) and West Africa Training Cruise (WATC) began arriving, March 20, aboard three U.S. military vessels to conduct a sea-basing exercise off the shore of Liberia along with various humanitarian events ashore.
The ships included the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), and prepositioning Marine Corps Container roll-on/roll-off Ships USNS 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo (T-AK 3008) and USNS Lance Cpl. Roy M. Wheat (T-AK 3016). High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV) 2 will arrive in the next couple of days to join in the efforts.
Although the Navy has conducted training during routine deployments in West and Central Africa for years, the size and focus of the APS and WATC mission is new and different. The Navy's new goal of persistent presence through a global maritime strategy is an international effort to support and strengthen regional maritime safety and security in West and Central Africa.
"APS and WATC will be constructing a floating dock and this will allow the Navy and Marine Corps team to set up a staging area in order to pre-stage vehicles and humanitarian supplies before going ashore," said Chief Warrant Officer Ronald Miller, APS amphibious officer Naval Beach Group (NBG) 2, homeported in Norfolk. "The INLS is great platform due to its ability to deliver critical supplies and equipment ashore while leaving no permanent footprint in the area."
The Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) is comprised of floating platforms and provides the Navy with the capability of moving equipment from strategic Sealift ships to shore areas in locations where conventional port facilities may be damaged, inadequate or nonexistent.
Along with the sea-basing exercise, APS will conduct maritime training with Liberian military professionals in officer leadership, noncommissioned officer leadership and martial arts.
APS is one in a series of activities designed to build maritime safety and security in Africa focusing first on the Gulf of Guinea. The training is designed to ensure that maritime safety and security will contribute to economical development ashore. On board are Sailors from West and Central Africa, Europe and the United States.
In addition to training, APS is scheduled to perform community relations (COMREL) projects with Seabees, Project Hope, Project Handclasp, and band engagements to build partnerships within the local community.
"We have many donations and COMRELs planned at Redemption Clinic, Logan Town clinic, Arthur N. Askie School and John F. Kennedy Hospital," said Lt. Frank Florio, U.S. Coast Guard, WATC planning officer for APS.
As part of the Navy's new global maritime strategy, Africa Partnership Station is a U.S. Naval Forces Europe-led initiative, executed by a multinational staff aboard Fort McHenry and Swift. Commander Task Force 365 and training teams from various U.S. and European military commands, as well as governmental and nongovernmental 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.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe -Commander, 6th Fleet or Africa Partnership Station, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.
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