BELIZE CITY, Belize (NNS) -- The pilot Global Fleet Station (GFS), embarked aboard High Speed Vessel (HSV) 2 Swift, completed its first visit to Belize on June 21.
"Our first stop to Belize was very successful," said Capt. Douglas Wied, Task Group 40.9 commander. "The Belize National Coast Guard, Belize Defense Force, Belize Police Force and our training teams had two great weeks of training and interaction. We received very positive feedback from the military and civilian leaders on the work we accomplished together and the relationships we are building here."
In addition to the bilateral engagement activities completed during the visit, Task Group 40.9 hosted Robert J. Dieter, U.S. Ambassador to Belize; Brig. Gen. Lloyd Gillett, Commander of the Belize Defense Force; and Brig. Gen. Cedric Borland, Commandant of Belize National Coast Guard aboard HSV Swift for briefings on the GFS mission and other activities.
While in Belize, members of the task group visited the Dorothy Menzies Child Care Center, a Belize City orphanage, where they removed debris from the yard, repaired a swing set and spent some quality time with the children.
Just as they did in the their previous stop in Guatemala, U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard training teams from Navy Expeditionary Training Command in Little Creek, Va., and U.S. Coast Guard International Training Division, in Yorktown, Va., facilitated training sessions in areas requested by the nation of Belize. These courses included one-week sessions of port security and vulnerability assessment, a leadership seminar, and a two-week training session in small boat handling. Over the course of the visit, 41 Belize personnel trained side by side with their American counterparts.
Task Group 40.9, consisting of a command element, the crew of Swift, training teams from Navy Expeditionary Training Command and U.S. Coast Guard International Training Division, and Department of State representatives, is deployed as part of the pilot GFS to the Caribbean basin in Central America.
While deployed, members of Task Group 40.9 will participate in information exchanges and training with partnership countries. They are scheduled to return to Belize for another round of cooperative exchanges later in the summer.
The mission is designed to validate the GFS concept for the Navy and to support U.S. Southern Command objectives for its area of responsibility by enhancing cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services and improving operational readiness for the participating partner nations.
Task Group 40.9 is scheduled to visit Belize, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Panama.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cusns/.