USS Underwood Visits NS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

USS Underwood Visits NS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

USS Underwood (FFG 36) visited Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during her deployment in support of Southern Seas 2012, July 18.

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate was in port to receive logistic support from the installation’s Port Operations department including water, fuel, and ammunition.

The Underwood received almost 98,000 gallons of diesel fuel (DFM) and 5,000 gallons of jet fuel (JP5),” said NS Guantanamo Bay Port Operations Quartermaster 2nd Class Dennis Steel, a dock master for USS Underwood’s visit. “I feel like the Port Operations team does a really good job supporting ships coming into port…from assigning them a pier to scheduling services like transportation, sewage offload, and potable water services.”

Southern Seas 2012 is an annual collaborative deployment which focuses on theater security and goodwill port visits in cooperation with partner nations in the Southern hemisphere.

“We have conducted 6 community relations (COMREL) projects so far and hosted a reception with the Ambassador to Chile, commemorating the Battles of Midway and Iquique,” said USS Underwood Operations Officer Lt. Lori Rose. “Most recently we have hosted a reception with the Ambassador to Jamaica, commemorating Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of their Independence.”

Underwood is the only U.S. asset assigned to Southern Seas Deployment 2012, and has taken this opportunity to show the flag around South America and the Caribbean (often being the first American ship to visit a particular port in many years), building diplomatic relations and increasing security cooperation efforts in the area.”

According to Rose, while brief, their visit to NS Guantanamo Bay provided the crew of USS Underwood training and morale opportunities.

“While in port, Sailors will be ensuring their weapons qualifications are up to date, utilizing the Navy Exchange (NEX) services, and visit the medical and dental facilities for appointments that could not be made until now,” said Rose.

Upon her departure, USS Underwood will join forces with partner nations in support of Operation Martillo (Spanish for hammer), a U.S., European, and Western hemisphere effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.

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