By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathleen A. Gorby, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs
PUERTO CASTILLA, Honduras (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines deployed as an adaptive force package (AFP) from USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) wrapped up their first mission stop in support of Southern Partnership Station-Joint High Speed Vessel 2015 (SPS-JHSV 15) in Puerto Castilla, Honduras, Aug. 24.
USNS Spearhead is deployed in support of SPS-JHSV 15, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored deployment focusing on enhancing cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services, and improving operational readiness for all participating services. In addition, SPS-JHSV 15 provides the opportunity for U.S. and partner nation forces to operate in the multinational environment, refine coordination, improve interoperability, and demonstrate flexibility.
While ashore, the AFP provided training and subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs), conducted community relations projects, and completed multiple construction projects throughout the Colon district.
"We accomplished quite a lot while in Honduras," said Cmdr. Robert Toth, commander of the AFP for SPS-JHSV 2015, and commanding officer of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 6. "Overall, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines exceeded all expectations and have left a lasting impact on the host nation."
According to the exercise participants, the training opportunities proved invaluable.
"Working alongside the Honduran Buzos de Combante unit, the EOD and dive teams conducted SMEEs," said Ensign Adam Pierce, EOD platoon officer-in-charge. "We engaged in demolition operations, diving and underwater sonar techniques, while forging relationships which will benefit both nations in the near future."
The Medical Engagement Team (MET) comprised of various commands across two continents, came together to educate, teach and aid Hondurans and AFP members.
"The MET visited five schools, educating more than 1,100 children about mosquito illness prevention methods," said Lt. Rebekah Sorensen, a physician assistant assigned to Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River, Maryland. "We trained 30 Honduran tactical combat casualty care (TCCC) instructors, who in turn, taught 150 Honduran military personnel. Additionally, we provided force health protection to U.S. service members in the camp battalion aid station."
U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) combat engineers, assigned to 8th Engineer Support Battalion in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and Navy Seabees, assigned to Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 303 in San Diego, worked together on various community construction projects.
Marine water purification specialists, assigned to 8th Engineer Support Battalion in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, created freshwater by pulling directly from the ocean and running it through a Lightweight Water Purification System.
"During our short time in Honduras, we created 10,000 gallons of freshwater," said USMC Sgt. Matthew Lore, noncommissioned officer-in-charge. "We also created 5,000 gallons for the local community of Puerto Castilla and distributed it in five-gallon jugs to those in need."
The AFP traveled to Honduras and sent a small detachment to Belize. During the next stop in Guatemala, a small contingent will be sent to Colombia. The deployment will continue through mid-October.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.