Military News

Friday, September 18, 2015

Southern Partnership Station-Joint High Speed Vessel 15 Arrives in Cartagena, Colombia

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathleen A. Gorby

CARTAGENA, Colombia (NNS) -- The joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), operated by the Military Sealift Command, arrived in Cartagena, Colombia for the Southern Partnership Station-Joint High Speed Vessel 2015 (SPS-JHSV 15) mission, Sept. 16.

On Spearhead's fourth stop it delivered three Adaptive Force Package (AFP) elements ashore- Navy Divers, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technicians and a Mass Communication Specialist.

SPS-JHSV 15's mission to the region exemplifies U.S. Naval Forces and U.S. Southern Command's commitment to cooperative partnerships in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

The AFP team will be joined by Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 133 (NMCB) from Gulfport, Mississipi.

"The Seabees will be building and teaching the Colombian engineers how to create a road challenge course," said Lt. Sean McSwain, from NMCB 133. "This is the first country where the Seabees are able to conduct true subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs)."

The Navy Divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Company 3-1 from EODMU3 and EOD Technicians from Platoon 642, EODMU6 depart from the AFP currently in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala to conduct SMEEs in Colombia.

"The divers will be focusing on cutting and welding SMEEs," said Ensign Pierce, AFP EOD officer in charge, Platoon 642, EODMU6. "The Colombian divers have a great diving program, which allows for us on to focus on advanced techniques."

In previous countries, divers and EOD worked together during SMEEs. In Colombia, they will be focusing on rating specific specialties and teaching two different groups.

"EOD will be focusing on counter-improvised explosive device exchanges and tool familiarization," said Pierce. "The Colombians are interested in learning more about our bomb suit and robot."

The force's arrival to Cartagena not only serves as a means to assist the local community, but also continues to strengthen ties with our military partners in the 4th Fleet's AOR. The SPS-JHSV 15 mission will continue through mid-October.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to counter illicit trafficking, 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

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