By Lt. Matthew Comer, High Speed Vessel-Southern Partnership Station 2012 Public Affairs
LA UNION, El Salvador (NNS) -- U.S. Marines assigned to High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift celebrated the conclusion of a three-week partnership with Salvadoran Marines in La Union, El Salvador, Dec. 20.
The three-week Marine subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) and Swift's visit to El Salvador is part of HSV-Southern Partnership Station 2012 (HSV-SPS 12).
The celebration was held at the officers club on La Union Naval Base and was attended by more than 50 Marines from both nations. Guests included Salvadoran Capt. Rafael Armando Guzman, La Union Fleet commander and Salvadoran Cmdr. Santiago Mendez, 1st Marine Battalion commander. The participants exchanged plaques and were given the opportunity to address the group.
"This is the second time Southern Partnership Station has been in El Salvador," said Mendez. "The experience has made us brothers and friends and it is for those reasons that we sacrifice together."
U.S. and Salvadoran Marines began working together Dec. 1. The Marines focused on small unit leadership, first-aid, land navigation, and small arms marksmanship.
"The experience has been outstanding," said Gunnery Sgt. Edward Palacios. "The Salvadoran Marines here are professional and well-trained. This experience is for you and for us, so that we make our respective Marine Corps stronger by passing the knowledge we have learned here."
The exchange culminated in a two-day marksmanship evolution. The U.S. Marines built a rifle range at the naval base and the two Marine Corps practiced firing techniques to improve efficiency
"Ultimately working together is not about the individuals but about the Marines under your command," said Sgt. Mark Miller, assigned to HSV-PS 12 Marine detachment (MARDET). "Knowledge is power. Use this knowledge to make your Marines stronger."
Southern Partnership Station is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) area of responsibility in the Caribbean, Central and South America. The mission's primary goal is information sharing with navies, coast guards and civilians in the region.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.