HSV2 Sailors Visit Schoolchildren in Cote d’Ivoire
Sailors from High-Speed Vessel Swift (HSV) 2 and members from the Naval Forces Europe band “Topside” joined efforts in entertaining children at Institut National Supérieur des Arts et de l’Action Culturelle, and the Centre Pilote pour la Petite Enfance, May 10.
More than 100 students and adults at both locations shared smiles and music, while Sailors gave teddy bears to the children.
“We are grateful they came here to bring some joy and happiness to our kids,” said Emma Brousset, director of the Centre Pilote pour la Petite Enfance. “There some here with handicaps who were able to feel the vibe of the music and dance.”
For service members, visits like these are opportunities to build friendships and give back to their host nations.
“Our involvement in the mission is to build bridges and strengthen friendships,” said Musician 2nd Class Willie Brandon, trombonist with Naval Forces Europe Band. “Music is an international language and we use that to build those bridges.”
Swift’s visit to Cote d’Ivoire was part of theater security cooperation, and is the first by a U.S. Navy vessel since the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) visited in 1999. The visit comes after several months at sea, making stops along the Black Sea and other European ports to strengthen ties with partner nations.
Swift will continue to visit ports in Africa as it begins support to Africa Partnership Station (APS) 2012. Swift’s visit demonstrates the U.S.’s ongoing commitment to the region’s stability and economic prosperity.
For the students and teachers that participated in the visit, many expressed their hope to see U.S. service members again in the future.
“What they shared with us, we feel, is a big sense of solidarity,” said Brousset. “They can come back any time because we won’t forget them.”
Swift is currently underway supporting APS which 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 in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.
Naval Today Staff, May 14, 2012; Image: navy