Friday, October 31, 2008

USS Robert G. Bradley Preps for AFRICOM Deployment

By Ensign Joshua Cowart, USS Robert G. Bradley Public Affairs

MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- As the end of October approaches, the guided-missile frigate USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49) is bustling with final pre-deployment preparations, as the crew prepares for what will be, perhaps, the most unique deployment of their naval careers.

Bradley will depart its homeport of Mayport near the end of November for a routinely scheduled deployment to Africa Command (AFRICOM). On deployment, Bradley will conduct theater security cooperation missions to help African nations improve their security capacity. The crew will also train forces, of the many African nations they visit, in visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations. VBSS teams are tasked with boarding and securing suspect vessels, conducting searches, obtaining intelligence and detaining persons of interest. Bradley's VBSS teams will help train security forces and naval boarding teams in this vital warfare area, thus allowing African countries to deter piracy in their waters.

In addition to training, service members will participate in community relations opportunities. Bradley Sailors will help strengthen the bonds of friendship and trust between the United States and the many nations of Africa by helping communities and showing African citizens that Americans take great interest in and care about their welfare.

Cmdr. Clint Carroll, Bradley's commanding officer, recently spoke of the ship's upcoming mission, what it would entail and how it will be accomplished, during a commanding officer's call. Taking the time to answer the many questions concerning ports of call, liberty and contact with family, Carroll also reminded Sailors that the mission is vital. He explained how the crew will set the tone for relations between the United States and others. He reminded Sailors that the opinion of the world will be directly affected by Bradley's actions while on this deployment, calling on each individual Sailor to give their best.

The Sailors of Bradley are ready. Following an extremely successful pre-deployment training cycle, crew members await the opportunity to put to the test all of the skills that they have spent the year honing.