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APS Completes Work in Senegal, Sails for Ghana

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090213-02
Release Date: 2/13/2009 6:11:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Holmes, Africa Partnership Station Nashville Public Affairs

DAKAR, Senegal (NNS) -- The Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville team, consisting of the USS Nashville (LPD 13) crew, staff of Destroyer Squadron 60 and international maritime professionals, departed her first African port of Dakar, Senegal, Feb. 11 after wrapping up seven days of team building events, seminars and training evolutions.

The Norfolk-based amphibious transport dock ship is deployed as part of APS, an international initiative developed by Naval Forces Europe and Naval Forces Africa, to work with U.S. and international partners to enhance maritime safety and security on the African continent. Nashville's APS mission is focused on collaborative efforts in West and Central Africa.

During Nashville's visit, the crew hosted daily interactive workshops and seminars on search and rescue procedures, port security planning, small boat maintenance, medical training, meteorology and fisheries management. Military and civilian components from several nations participated in the various events, highlighting the overarching focus of building dialogue and interoperability across the region.

Capping the week's training seminars were the Senegalese Minister of Defense's opening remarks at the APS-hosted, multinational oil-spill prevention workshop where he emphasized that as with other sea-based challenges, maritime environmental protection requires a collective approach and an open dialogue. He also thanked the U.S. Navy and American authorities in general for their support of Senegal.

As Nashville bustled with events inside the skin of the ship, groups of APS team members were also busy off the ship participating in community relations (COMREL) projects and joint military training. U.S. Marines attached to Nashville and Senegalese soldiers spent six days at an Army base in the city of Thies covering topics such as combat life-saving skills, logistics, information management, marksmanship and the use of nonlethal weapons.

Another highlight of the week, a reception aboard Nashville, welcomed Senegalese distinguished visitors and the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal, Marcia S. Bernicat. While giving remarks to the guests, Bernicat commented on APS's corner stone of strength.

"APS is built on one strong premise, and it is that strong, open partnerships enhance security and stability," said Bernicat.

The COMREL projects took place in the city of Dakar as well as surrounding villages, including a school, medical clinics and a children's shelter. A soccer game was also played between an APS Nashville team and a Senegalese Navy team.

In addition to the above events, APS Nashville Commander Capt. Cynthia Thebaud met with top Senegalese officers and officials, during which discussions focused on the importance of maritime security and transparent relationships with partner nations. During each meeting, the various Senegalese officials highlighted the importance of partnership and the APS mission.

"We are grateful to the Senegalese Navy and the citizens of Dakar for their outstanding hospitality," said Thebaud. "We see this partnership growing in strength and look forward to our return in May."

APS Nashville now heads to Sekondi, Ghana, to continue with their mission.

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