High-Speed Vessel Swift Conducts Crew Turnover in Naples, Italy

The Blue Crew of High-Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) exchanged command with Swift’s Gold Crew during a port visit to Naples, Italy, in preparation for its upcoming Africa Partnership Station (APS) West 2012 deployment, July 23.

Swift’s Blue Crew completed a nearly four month deployment that brought them through ports in the Black Sea, Europe, and 13 countries in Africa supporting APS East 2012.

“The real reward from APS was to be engaged with African host nations, meet people, get to know what issues are important to them and feel like we are making a valuable contribution to their security and economy,” said Lt. Cmdr. Charles Eaton, officer in charge of Swift’s Blue Crew. “I think that’s probably the biggest takeaway you can have from any deployment, to feel that you made a difference in the world.”
With a rotational manning concept, crew turnovers are a common occurrence aboard the Military Sealift Command-chartered vessel. The crews rotate every four months which allows Swift to remain forward deployed nearly the entire year.

During their deployment, Swift’s Blue Crew conducted military-to-military engagements focusing on combat medical training, infantry tactics, port security and junior officer and non-commissioned officer leadership training.

“The mission was amazing,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate Robert Frost, senior enlisted leader of Swift’s Blue Crew. “We learned a lot, and I feel our partners did too.”

During APS, Swift’s Blue Crew helped offload humanitarian and goodwill supplies for Project Handclasp, hosted four diplomatic receptions, painted schools and participated in a variety of community projects.

“Every time we do a port visit we have to one-up it everywhere we go,” said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Howard LeRoy. “The Gold Crew does have a tremendous amount of work ahead of them, maintaining what we started and continuing APS successfully.”

After Swift departs Naples the crew will continue the APS mission in August with separate visits to West African nations.

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, July 25, 2012