USS Underwood Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence

USS Underwood Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Jamaica's Independence

Distinguished guests came aboard the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36) for a reception held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence in Kingston, Jamaica, July 12.

During the three-hour event, the U.S. ambassador to Jamaica, Ambassador Pamela E. Bridgewater, and Underwood Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Peter Mirisola, addressed approximately 75 guests. The guests enjoyed finger foods and refreshments before taking tours of the ship.

“The enduring relationship Jamaica and the United States share is built on a foundation of professionalism and trust, and together our forces serve the people of the Caribbean, South, Central, and North America to advance peace and security in the Western Hemisphere,” said Mirisola, before describing the history of the Jamaica Defense Force and the relationship the U.S. and Jamaica have maintained as allies. “This year, Jamaica and Jamaicans around the world are celebrating this milestone anniversary and paying tribute to the men and women of the Jamaica Defense Force.”

Bridgewater also talked about Jamaica’s anniversary of independence.

We have chosen the theme, ‘Celebrating the Ties That Bind: 50 Years of Friendship,’ to mark not only Jamaica’s independence, but strong, unbroken diplomatic relations the United States and Jamaica have enjoyed for the past 50 years,” said Bridgewater. “And our military-to-military collaboration has been one of the most enduring aspects of our relationship.”

Bridgewater also welcomed Underwood to Jamaica, and said the visit was another example of the bond between the U.S. and Jamaica.

“Human beings have sailed the seas for centuries,” said Bridgewater. “The same sense of adventure and the desire to tame the sea that inspired early explorers to set sail is certainly with the Underwood’s crew. It is my pleasure to welcome her to Jamaica, and may her presence be yet another reminder of the many ties that bind Jamaica and the United States of America.”

After addressing the audience, Bridgewater, Mirisola and the Deputy Governor General of Jamaica, Sophia Azan cut a cake together, decorated as the Jamaican flag.

Underwood offered tours of the ship to guests and, as the reception drew to an end, Mirisola presented Bridgewater with a plaque commemorating the ship’s visit to Kingston.

Underwood is deployed to Central and South America and the Caribbean in support of Southern Seas 2012.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports USSOUTHCOM 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, July 16, 2012; Image: US Navy