Rear Adm. Michael T. Franken Visits USS Samuel B. Roberts

Commander, Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Rear Adm. Michael T. Franken, visited USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) July 19 during Roberts’ engagement with Africa Partnership Station (APS) East Kenya “Hub”.

During his visit Rear Adm. Michael T. Franken presented certificates of achievement to two embarked Kenyan navy officers who participated in APS East’s “Shiprider” program.

Franken was ardent in his praise of the Kenyan officers’ efforts, especially in regard to their unaided handling of a replenishment-at-sea (RAS).

“I am most impressed with the enthusiasm of our partner Kenyan officers,” said Franken. “It is apparent that they have quickly acclimated themselves to blue water operations and the multi-faceted FFG mission set. Their proven expertise conning the ship alongside is hugely notable.”

Equally impressive, said Franken, was the potential these types of milestones held for the future of the APS mission.

“This is an enduring opportunity for the U.S. Navy to maintain relationships and share operational best practices with the East African Maritime forces,” he said. “APS is a win-win engagement that gets better with each successive year.”

After the award ceremony Franken took time to tour the ship and visit with Roberts’ crew; however, this wasn’t the first time Franken had been aboard Roberts.

“I first walked Sammy B.’s decks in the early 1990s,” said an impressed Franken. “It was a great looking and terrific operating ship back then. Usually ships degrade some with age, but I saw none of that aboard Sammy B. today. The ship looks like it is fresh from the building ways at Bath Iron Works, both inside and out.”

Franken said he also came away from his visit with an appreciation of the special crew keeping Roberts at the forefront in mission readiness and forward capability.

“I saw in the eyes of Sammy B.’s crew a dedication and focus that often brings the highest level of success,” said Franken. “I look forward to reading of the ship’s successes in the months and years to come.”

Roberts’ commanding officer, Cmdr. Angel Cruz, said it was a pleasure for him and his crew to host Franken aboard their ship.

“It is great anytime we get one of our bosses down here to see all the great work we are doing,” said Cruz. “Our guys have been working extremely hard and it is always nice when the higher ups notice that. We were honored to have Rear Adm. Franken aboard and, like always, he has an open invitation to come back and visit any time.”

Roberts is on a regularly scheduled deployment to the 6th Fleet area-of-operations.

APS is an international security cooperation initiative facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.


Source: navy, July 26, 2011;