PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (NNS) -- USS Farragut (DDG 99) bid farewell to Trinidad and Tobago Sept. 8 after three days of theater security cooperation (TSC) exercises with the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard.
"Farragut Sailors and members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force have exchanged experiences and gained new knowledge about each other's culture and people over these past four days," said Cmdr. Scott E. Dugan, Farragut's commanding officer.
"Our interactions here have created bonds across the cultures, helping to foster friendship and understanding among our nations."
Farragut has been deployed in support of Partnership of the Americas (POA) 2008 since early April with USS Kauffman (FFG 59) and embarked Helicopter Squadron Light 42, Detachment 7 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40.
POA, a U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)-sponsored deployment, promotes interoperability and cooperation among partner nations, thus implementing the Chief of Naval Operation's Maritime Strategy by securing regional prosperity through freedom of the seas. TSC events are an important facet of POA because it allows U.S. Sailors direct interaction with partner nations' general populace.
The TSC mission includes a series of interactions between U.S. and foreign militaries and the civilian population. TSC events while at Port of Spain included a flight deck reception Sept. 5; a community service project at San Juan Elementary School; ship tours, including a visit by U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Roy L. Austin Sept. 6; and a soccer match between Farragut and Trinidad and Tobago's Coast Guard Sept. 7.
On the day of their arrival, Dugan paid an official visit to Brig. Gen. Edmund E. Dillon, Chief of Defense Force, and Col. Roland Maundy, Commander of the Regiment. Later that evening, Farragut's flight deck reception hosted several distinguished members of Trinidad and Tobago and the U.S Embassy.
For one Farragut crew member, the port visit was a rare opportunity to return home. Ensign Marvin Joseph, Farragut's first lieutenant, who was born and raised in Trinidad, enjoyed a mid-deployment break at home.
"I've been excited about this visit since the beginning of our deployment," said Joseph. "Not only will we be able to work and train with the dedicated professionals of the Coast Guard, I will also be able to show the rest of the Sailors on the Farragut what Trinidad has to offer and return home to visit my family."
Dugan explained the success of the visit.
"We have been fortunate during these last five months to have had the opportunity to learn from and train with the navies and Coast Guards of our partners throughout the hemisphere," he said.
"Myself and my entire crew are extremely grateful for being able to share our experiences and best practices with our partners from the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard and look forward to future visits throughout the region."
For more news from USS Farragut, visit www.navy.mil/local/ddg99/.