Thursday, March 08, 2012

HSV 2 Departs Haiti

By Lt. Matthew Comer, High Speed Vessel-Southern Partnership Station 2012 Public Affairs

CAP HAITIEN, Haiti (NNS) -- High Speed Vessel (HSV) 2 Swift departed Cap-Haitien, Haiti, March 6, the final stop of its four-month mission during HSV-Southern Partnership Station 2012 (HSV-SPS 12).

Swift held a closing ceremony aboard, March 5, which was attended by Minister Theirry Mayard Paul, Haitian minister of the Interior, to recognize the first port visit by a U.S. Navy ship and the partnerships made during the three-week port visit to Cap-Haitian.

"In just three weeks, you have been able to build an indelible partnership in the northeastern part of Haiti. One that can withstand the test of time," said Paul. "I am here today, deeply humbled and greatly encouraged by your dedication and action."

During Swift's visit, American military teams participated in subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs) with their Haitian peers during the visit. A detachment of nine Marines aboard Swift partnered with a U.N. training team from the Haitian National Police (HNP) Academy to provide instruction in martial arts, non-lethal weapons, leadership and pistol marksmanship. Thirty-eight HNP from the northern region of Haiti participated in the joint training, which was held at the U.N. Chilean battalion in Cap-Haitian.

"We are grateful to the people of Haiti for hosting us and inviting us to work alongside them during our visit," said Cmdr. Garry Wright, HSV-SPS 12 mission commander. "This opportunity has allowed us to celebrate our continued partnership and in turn, increase our cooperation in the Caribbean and Latin America."

A team of 19 Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 23 and five U.S. Marines worked with a team of U.N. Indonesian construction engineers in Caracol, Haiti. The project included renovations at the Caracol National School, the Caracol Dispensary and a local recreation facility, which will benefit 14,000 community members.

"The United States is part of an international effort here in Haiti," said Daniel Foote, deputy chief of missions, U.S. Embassy in Haiti. "During their time here, the crew of the Swift concentrated on health and security, working with the Ministry of Public Health, the Haitian national police, and the National port Authority to increase the capacity to serve the Haitian people."

The Swift's Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) team conducted SMEEs with the Haitian national port authority. The team discussed threat identification and detection in a maritime environment with their 44 Haitian partners. The two one-week SMEEs concluded in practical exercises that included vehicle inspection and suspect detention.

"We hope that the information we shared improves security for the port," said Lt. j.g. Dylan Harmon, NCIS team member. "Additionally, we want to continue to work together to understand the threats we face and how to address those threats in our security posture throughout the region."

A medical and veterinary team from Swift worked with local healthcare providers from Justinian Hospital in Cap-Haitian. The team will discussed basic health care, diagnoses, prognoses and treatment and prevention of disease.

Swift arrived in Cap-Haitien Feb. 15, and offloaded more than $4 million dollars of Project Handclasp school and medical supplies to be distributed throughout Haiti by non-government organizations. Haiti was the final stop on the HSV-SPS 12 mission, which will return to Naval Station Mayport. The ship has visited Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru and Panama during its mission.

Southern Partnership Station is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility in the Caribbean and Latin America. The mission's primary goal is information sharing with navies, militaries 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.