Wednesday, May 12, 2010

SPS 2010 Kicks Off Exchanges in Jamaica

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Rachael Leslie, High Speed Vessel Swift 2 Public Affairs

PORT ANTONIO, Jamaica (NNS) -- The crew on board High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) kicked off a series of subject matter expert exchanges with Jamaican defense forces in Port Antonio, Jamaica, May 10.

The ship is currently deployed in support of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2010, a deployment of various specialty platforms to the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR) in the Caribbean and Latin America, with the primary goal of information sharing with navies, coast guards, and civilian services throughout the region.

"We're just beginning, but so far, it's been very informative," said Cpl. Chetoldi Rowe, who is participating in the Junior Enlisted Leadership Principles exchange, and a member of the Jamaica Defence Force. "I was selected by my chain of command to attend, and I really enjoy the format and the classroom setting. I really look forward to expanding some of what I already know about leadership, and working on both my strengths and weaknesses."

Nearly 70 members of the Jamaica Defence Force came aboard Swift for the weeklong exchanges, designed to engage the U.S military sea services with partner nation's defense forces, police departments and coast guards.

Some of the topics of discussion over the next few weeks will include port security, non-commissioned officer professional development, operational risk management, medical readiness, outboard motor maintenance and patrol craft operation.

"It's always interesting getting to interact with defense forces from other nations, and see how they conduct themselves and work," said Yeoman 1st Class (EXW/SW) Tiffany Summers, from Vineland, N.J., and a facilitator with the Maritime Civil Affairs Instructor and Security and Training Command Security Forces Detachment aboard Swift. "I look forward to seeing what we'll be able to learn and take back to the command."

The U.S. Marine Corps also has an five-man mobile training team aboard Swift to participate in the exchanges. The team will provide instruction in martial arts, non-lethal weapons, military operations in urban terrain, check-point security, marksmanship and small unit tactics.

"This is so important because even though we operate so differently, and on a much smaller scale, we have so much to learn from each other," said Rowe. "Because the U.S. military's mission is so large, they have a lot to offer and exchanges of this nature are a good way to expand our own knowledge."

This is the fourth SPS deployment in USSOUTHCOM's AOR and the vision is to continue this effort to maintain a persistent presence in the region as a way to further enhance strong relationships.

Swift is operated and navigated by 17 civilian contract mariners working for a private company under charter to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command.

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