HSV SPS Starts Mission in La Union, El Salvador

High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift began subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs) in La Union, El Salvador to begin HSV-Southern Partnership Station 2012 (HSV-SPS 12), Dec. 5.

Swift arrived in La Union Dec. 1, and is scheduled to be in El Salvador for three weeks to engage with partner nation peers in a series of SMEEs.

All branches of U.S. military service are represented on Swift. Specialists from the Seabees, Marines, medical and veterinary fields, Naval Criminal Investigatory Services, Expeditionary Security Team, and Maritime Civil Affairs Team are aboard Swift for this mission.

La Union is the second stop for Swift, which recently completed a series of exchanges in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

“We got off to a great start in the Dominican Republic,” said Cmdr. Garry Wright, HSV-SPS 12 mission commander. “SPS is a great opportunity to work with our Latin American partners and the crew is really looking forward to getting to know the people of El Salvador.”

A U.S. Navy Seabee and U.S. Marine detachment from Swift is scheduled to complete minor renovations on Centro Escolar Elementary School. The 10-day construction project will include fencing, minor plumbing and electrical maintenance, and other small repairs.

“Being part of the Navy makes me feel like I have accomplished something in my life,” said Builder 1st Class Tony Escobar, a Salvadoran native, assigned to Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 23. “It is great that I am able to come back with such a great mission and use the skills I have to give something back to my roots.”

Marines from Swift are scheduled to participate in a small unit leadership course with Salvadoran Marines at several bases in La Union. The course will last three weeks and will include land navigation, marksmanship, first aid and tactics.

The medical and veterinary teams aboard Swift are conducting a series of subject matter expert exchanges regarding post-surgical care, infectious disease, and basic lifesaving techniques. The groups are also participating in site visits to local medical clinics, farms and aviaries to observe local practices.

“This mission is about sharing our knowledge with medical professionals in the countries we visit,” said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Clarke. “Learning how to prevent a disease is just as important as learning to treat it, and that is what we are doing here.”

Southern Partnership Station is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility in the Caribbean and Latin America. The mission’s primary goal is information sharing with navies, coast guards and civilians in the region.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
Naval Today Staff, December 07, 2011