PORT ANTONIO, Jamaica (NNS) -- High speed vessel Swift (HSV 2) arrived in Port Antonio Jan. 4 for the first of two instruction evolutions in Jamaica during Southern Partnership Station (SPS).
Southern Partnership Station is an annual deployment of various specialty platforms to the U.S. Southern Command area of focus in the Caribbean and Latin America. The mission goal is primarily information sharing with navies, coast guards, and civilian services throughout the region.
Training teams from Navy Expeditionary Training Command, Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Marine Corps Training and Advisory Group began their courses Jan. 5 with Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) members. The courses provide instruction in a variety of fields such as land navigation, port security, waterborne security operations, small boat repair and maritime interdiction operations.
The arrival of the SPS team was noted with a formal ceremony on Swift with opening remarks by Cdr. Chris Barnes, SPS mission commander and Lt. Tomar Lewis, JDF training officer.
"It's certainly a pleasure and a great opportunity to have this training at this time," said Lt. Lewis. "I'd like to implore the officers and men of the JDF to open your minds to the training and absorb all of the knowledge that is going to be passed on to you. Remember that whatever is learned here this week you'll pass on to those in your units."
Training began immediately after the ceremony with students dispersing to classrooms set up aboard Swift.
Jamaica is the third stop for SPS. Training in the first two countries, El Salvador and Panama, was very successful with knowledge flowing both ways. "The training team members learned as they taught," said Cmdr. Sam Sorgen, SPS deputy mission commander. "The partner nation students have passed on unique training knowledge based on the strategic region they operate in. The JDF is already explaining many of the issues they're having with drug traffic around their country, so we are training to that level while they bring real world knowledge to us."
After Jamaica, SPS is scheduled to visit Barbados, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.
The mission is coordinated through U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet (NAVSO/4th Fleet) with partner nations to meet their specific training requests. As the Naval Component Command of SOUTHCOM, NAVSO's mission is to direct U.S. Naval Forces operating in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions and interact with partner nation navies within the maritime environment. Various operations include counter-illicit trafficking, theater security cooperation, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, military-to-military interaction and bilateral and multinational training.
Fourth Fleet is the numbered fleet assigned to NAVSO, exercising operational control of assigned forces in the SOUTHCOM area of focus.
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