Military Sealift Command-Chartered High Speed Vessel Swift Departs Maputo, Mozambique

Military Sealift Command-Chartered High Speed Vessel Swift Departs Maputo, Mozambique

Military Sealift Command-chartered High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) left Port Maputo June 15 for Nacala as the ship’s crew continues its role in Mozambique for Africa Partnership Station (APS) 2012.

Swift spent seven days in Port Maputo, conducting two separate classroom engagements that graduated almost 30 Mozambican military and port security officials, which enhanced their skill set on everything from port security to basic infantry and medical skills.

Members of Naval Forces Europe Band “Flagship” kept a busy schedule traveling to more than 10 events including schools, receptions, and “jam sessions” with local musicians.

The musical events allowed for locals, many of them children and young adults, to interact with service members in uniform in an environment they wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to experience.

“Here in Mozambique, American Jazz, Rock n’ Roll and Western music get a big response, people ask more questions about it. It’s a great way to open doors in the community and it leaves a lasting impression,” said Chief Musician (SW) Christopher Vlangas, Naval Forces Europe Band “Flagship.” “The port is just an entry point, but with the band, there’s really no boundary. APS can extend as far into a country as the band can travel.”

Swift’s crew participated in three community outreach projects which included a friendly soccer match with the Mozambican navy, and joint efforts between the two countries’ service members where they serviced two different orphanages – one, where they painted the facility, and another, where they constructed a fence.

“At the orphanages and through the band performances, I think as part of this Africa Partnership mission we affected the children, and then on to their children, we end up affecting an entire generation in a positive way,” said Chief Warrant Officer Ronald McMiller, assistant officer in charge, Swift’s military detachment.

Swift’s civilian and military leadership paid visits to the leaders of the Mozambican armed forces. They also hosted a graduation ceremony that honored the commitment of the service members who participated in the week-long APS courses.

The vessel hosted a reception on board for the U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique Leslie Rowe, and more than 100 invited guests spent the evening learning about Swift and the mission of APS.

APS is about developing African solutions to global problems and building upon long-standing relationships.

Through events like the ones held in Maputo and in future ports, it helps to create partnerships among a number of organizations that have not traditionally worked together in the past to achieve common goals through collaboration.

Swift continues its APS mission in Nacala, Mozambique where it will engage in continued information exchanges and community service projects.

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 in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.

Naval Today Staff, June 19, 2012; Image: US Navy