PUERTO CASTILLA, Honduras (NNS) -- U.S. service members and Honduran civilian and military officials commemorated the start of Southern Partnership Station-Expeditionary Fast Transport 2017 (SPS-EPF 17) events July 24, at the Honduran naval base in Puerto Castilla.
Coln Department Governor Carlos Ramn Aguilar Guifarro and Trujillo City Mayor Jose Antonio Lanez gave remarks in an opening ceremony and welcomed the SPS-EPF 17 team to Honduras.
"Thank you for the forces and support that we are receiving for Southern Partnership Station," said Aguilar. "This mission is not the first, nor will it be the last."
Capt. Steven Stacy, SPS-EPF 17 mission commander, also spoke at the event and expressed the significance of the mission and the opportunity to strengthen relationships in the Caribbean region.
"The key concept for Southern Partnership Station is just that-partnership," said Stacy, as he addressed the audience, including Honduran civilian and military guests. "But beyond that, we care about what we are doing here with each and every one of you."
The goal of SPS-EPF 17 is enhancing cooperative partnerships through preventative medicine collaboration, subject matter expert exchanges and humanitarian activities. This year's activities include community relations projects to improve local schools and well drilling operations, which will provide thousands of local citizens with access to fresh water.
Southern Partnership Station is one of the many operations and exercises conducted with Central and South American partner nations. The Continuing Promise 2017 mission also included several engagements in Honduras.
"Our countries have shared interests in the Caribbean, from maritime security, to humanitarian activities, to countering illicit trafficking," said Stacy. "Honduras and the U.S. have worked together over the years and we established an amazing partnership."
Honduras is the first country visit of the three month SPS-EPF 17 mission. In addition, SPS-EPF 17 service members are scheduled to conduct activities in Guatemala, Chile and Colombia.
USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT supports USSOUTHCOM's 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.
For more information, visit www.public.navy.mil/comusnavso-c4f, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NAVSOUS4thflt, or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/navsous4thflt
For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news on U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet visit: http://www.navy.mil/local/cusns/