The US Navy’s expeditionary fast transport USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1) got underway from Virginia to join Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2018 – an annual series of US Navy deployments focused on exchanges with regional partner nation militaries and security forces.
Spearhead will conduct subject matter expert exchanges and water well construction projects from July to October 2018.
Visiting Panama, Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador, and Trinidad and Tobago, the ship’s crew to work alongside those nations’ military forces, security forces, civilian health professionals and other governmental agencies.
SPS 18 is a US Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) directed deployment planned by US Naval Forces Southern Command /US 4th Fleet (USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT) and conducted by deployed adaptive force packages (AFPs) under the direction of the Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40 staff.
AFPs are specialized teams of US service members from the fields of engineering, diving, explosive ordnance disposal, and medical. They are embarked on Spearhead to work with partner nation forces during naval-focused training exercises, military-to-military engagements, and community relations projects in an effort to enhance partnerships with regional maritime activities and improve the operational readiness of participants while ensuring interoperability.
The deployment will focus on enhancing cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services and improving operational readiness for all participants. Additionally, the mission will provide an opportunity for US and partner nations to operate in a multinational environment, refine coordination, improve interoperability and demonstrate flexibility. Assigned units will focus on locally-identified needs to include port and harbor security, health service systems and humanitarian response infrastructure.