AFRICOM in Kenya: U.S. Naval Vessel Continues East African Port Tour
July 11, 2012 (TSR) – Military Sealift Command-chartered High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) hosted training with Kenyan Sailors during a two-day port visit that ended July 7 in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS) East 2012.
Twenty-four members of the Kenyan navy took part in classroom engagements focused on port security, leadership, infantry tactics and medical training.
The classes were conducted by personnel embarked on Swift from Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Marines from Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) 12.2, Security Cooperation Team 6.
“The first aid techniques and patrols done by the Marines were great, the formations were new, so we’ll integrate those into our program. It was very educational,” said Senior Sgt. Johnbosco Okumu, Kenyan navy. “The interaction was great. Apart from the training, we have made friends. It was a good time to be on the ship.”
Fourteen students participated in the training conducted by the Marine Corps, learning about infantry movements, leadership and combat casualty care.
The NCIS port assessment class gave graduation certificates to 10 students after discussing areas to focus on improving port security like lighting, access areas and movement of barriers and gates.
Both graduation ceremonies were attended by Commodore Richard Soucie, commander, Task Force (CTF) 63.
“We enjoy getting the opportunity to train with you, to get the chance to show you how the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps does things, and to get to see how you do things and learn from you as well. It’s a two-way street,” said Soucie.
Swift’s stop in Mombasa marks the ship’s fourth East African port visit in as many weeks, having stopped in Tanzania and Mozambique prior to coming to Kenya.
“Being able to develop the relationships between our military and our partner nations is critical for this program, so thank you for your participation,” said Lt. Cmdr. Charles Eaton, Swift’s military detachment officer-in-charge, speaking at the graduation ceremony.
During the brief stop, Swift was also able to conduct an offload of supplies for Project Handclasp. Project Handclasp is a U.S. Navy program that accepts and transports educational, humanitarian and goodwill material donated by America’s private sector on a space-available basis aboard U.S. Navy ships for distribution to foreign nation recipients.
For the offload in Mombasa, four pallets of water filters were taken to aid residents of Arusha, Tanzania, a rural community in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.
“Drinking water is hard to come by in parts of Africa; these will filter out 99 percent of the impurities. It’s brilliant! I’m glad to be a part of an initiative like this with the U.S. Navy, a once in a lifetime chance to help,” said John Ogala, Project Handclasp recipient.
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 in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.