By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William Jamieson, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa/Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
MOMBASA, Kenya (NNS) -- USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) departed Kenya July 23 after a five-day port call in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS) East's Kenya Hub.
Roberts played a vital role in the hub's success, which saw the graduation of more than 85 students from seven African partner nations in courses such as Search and Rescue Planning, Small Boat Operations, Small Boat Navigation, and Meteorology and Oceanography.
Roberts' commanding officer, Cmdr. Angel Cruz, said the hub was an exciting undertaking for his ship and crew to be a part of.
"There are great things happening in East Africa," said Cruz. "When I heard Sammy B. was going to get to take part in the action, I had no doubt about how my crew would respond. These guys don't see challenges, they see opportunities, and they made the most of this one."
The visit to Kenya included visits from distinguished guests Rear Adm. Michael T. Franken, commander, Joint-Task Force, Horn of Africa, and Kenya Navy Commander Maj. Gen. Ngewa Mukala, along with three community relations projects involving more than 30 Sailors.
"Kenya is a beautiful country," said Cruz. "We want to thank the Kenyan people for allowing us to visit and share their culture and hospitality."
While the ship is underway in the Indian Ocean, embarked "Shipriders" from Eastern African nations will get some hands-on experience that can't be obtained through classwork alone.
"We are going to get these guys up on the bridge doing the kind of work it takes to run a ship," said Cruz. "When they leave Sammy B. they will have a far better understanding of the level they need to be able to perform at."
Embarked "shiprider" from the Tanzania navy Capt. A.M. Kihuma, said living and working with U.S. Sailors allows partner nations to better understand the types of systems and operations they need to operate in deep ocean sailing, or the "blue-water" navy.
"Our U.S. Partners are giving us this opportunity to come and learn how to take full control of our own areas," said Kihupa. "We also get the added benefit of getting to know each other's cultures. The more fully we understand each other, the better we are able to work together and the more we are able to achieve."
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 to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.