Amphibious Transport Dock Ship Welcomes Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste Ship Riders


Seven soldiers and sailors from the Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea Defense Forces will complete Ship Rider program training aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland (LPD 7), the flagship for Pacific Partnership 2011, June 20.

The Ship Rider program gives host country service members the opportunity to train with U.S. Navy Sailors while experiencing life aboard a Navy vessel first hand.

The Timorese and Papua New Guinean soldiers and sailors participated in and observed man overboard drills, damage control drills, medical drills, and flight and well deck operations aboard Cleveland.

“The crew of the Cleveland had the chance to instruct ship riders in various shipboard procedures and programs, giving them the opportunity to share their experience and knowledge with fellow service members,” said Capt. S. Robert Roth, USS Cleveland commanding officer. “They crew really enjoyed showing them around the ship and interacting with them.”

The ship riders also had the opportunity to observe command and control stations during shipboard evolutions and learn how U.S. Navy ships navigate the open ocean.

“This experience was very important to us,” said Timor-Leste 1st Lt. Nercio Alves. “It increased our experience with and knowledge of the U.S. Navy. As our navy expands and begins building larger ships, our time aboard Cleveland will benefit us in providing a brighter future for our navy.”

Cleveland is currently anchored off the coast of Dili, Timor-Leste, conducting the fourth phase of the Pacific Partnership 2011 mission. Cleveland has completed mission stops in Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea as part of Pacific Partnership 2011.

Aboard the ship are representatives from the United States, Australia, Canada, Timor-Leste, France, Papua New Guinea and several non-governmental organizations.

“We are excited to be able to serve alongside the different nations to bring aid to the people of Timor-Leste,” said Alves. “This is the kind of cooperation we need between different nations. It is great to be a part of this partnership.”

Alves is one of many service members from the Timor-Leste Defense force who will be working with the Pacific Partnership team during engineering and medical civil action projects in Dili.

During the past five years, Pacific Partnership has provided medical, dental, educational, and preventive medicine services to more than 230,000 people and completed more than 150 engineering projects in 16 countries.
Source: navy, June 21, 2011;