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Swift Departs Togo, Embarked Medical Team's Mission Concludes

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120920-05

By Ensign Joe Keiley, High-Speed Vessel Swift Public Affairs

LOME, Togo (NNS) -- High-Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) departed Lome, Sept. 19, wrapping up a four-day port visit and marking the conclusion to the embarked team of medical professionals' mission with Swift for Africa Partnership Station (APS) West 2012.

During the visit, the team conducted a health fair in the village of Zowla, reaching out to more than 500 people in the surrounding population by providing vision screenings, basic medications, and consultations with U.S. Navy doctors and their counterparts in the Togolese military.

"These visits had us operating in environments unlike anything we've done before, so it became a great opportunity to put our skills to good use among a population that needed care," said Chief Hospital Corpsman Joseph Lombardo.

While the medical team conducted their events in the rural areas of Togo, Swift was at sea conducting exercises with the Togolese navy where the two navies learned to work together performing ship maneuvers.
"They were really excited to be involved and they handled it really well in terms of handing off the pursuit, especially not having done it before. It's not every day you get to work to bring two navies together like that," said Lt. j.g. Drew Lewis, Swift's operations officer.

Swift acted as a decoy ship, while boarding teams from the Togolese navy worked together to pursue the ship.
"Exercises like this, really brings this out of the classroom, where it can be difficult to fully understand the movements at sea," said Lt. j.g. Lewis.
Swift's leadership met with the Togolese navy discussing the future APS visits while sharing plans for future engagements. The stop in Lome marked the ship's second visit since May.

Swift is a Military Sealift Command-chartered High Speed Vessel that operates on a lease to the U.S. Navy. The daily operation and navigation of the ship is handled by civilian contract mariners while the mission planning is handled by a military detachment of navy personnel.

APS is an international security cooperation initiative aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.

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