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APS Swift Arrives in The Gambia

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090918-07
Release Date: 9/18/2009 2:19:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist First Class (SW) Daniel Meaney, Africa Partnership Station Swift Public Affairs

BANJUL, The Gambia (NNS) -- High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) arrived in the capital city here, Sept. 17, as part of Africa Partnership Station (APS).

APS Swift was welcomed by Bala Garba-Jahump, The Gambia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the United States Ambassador to Gambia, Barry L. Wells, as well as high ranking Gambian military officials.

During remarks, Wells spoke on the importance of the visit by the U.S. Navy and APS Swift.

"Visits like this are important because they help reinforce the strong ties that already exist between our two countries. The last Navy ship visit of this magnitude was in 1994," said Wells. "The United States Navy is committed to many humanitarian assistance projects around the globe, and has, with this visit, transported donated items from 'Gambia Help' in Seattle, Wash., and medical supplies from Project Handclasp, which will be donated to the Ministry of Health."

APS Swift delivered 16 pallets of Project Handclasp supplies here.

Touching on the first such visit in 15 years, Brig. Gen.Yankuba Drammeh, Chief of The Gambian Army Staff and Brig. Gen. Sarjo Fofana, Chief of The Gambian Naval Staff welcomed the ship to the country.

"We welcome you back to the smiling coast of Africa," said Fofana. "The United States government has long provided much needed assistance and training to the Gambian military, and for that we are grateful. Thank you very much for coming."

APS is a multinational initiative under Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa which aims to foster cooperation between the U.S., European and African partners to enhance maritime safety and security on the African continent.

Swift, homeported in Norfolk, Va., is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. The ship has supported various partnership-building operations and training throughout much of the world, including APS.

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