PUNTA GORDA, Belize (NNS) -- Southern Partnership Station 2014 (SPS-JHSV 14) ended six weeks of subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) and partnership building July 19, in the first of three countries it is scheduled to visit.
SPS-JHSV 14 is a 4th Fleet initiative designed to strengthen civil and maritime capabilities with regional partner nations in the Caribbean, Central and South America.
While in Belize, the SPS-JHSV 14 Adaptive Force Packages (AFPs) participated in SMEEs with U.S. Belize Defense Force (BDF) personnel, government officials, and the Ministry of Health to improve their relationships and joint interoperability.
The AFPs are comprised of Coastal Riverine Squadron 2, Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3, Mobile Diving Salvage Unit 2, Naval Criminal Investigation Service agents, Engineering engagement teams, medical and dental teams and various Marine components
"We had a great welcome and it was a good opportunity to be able to work alongside our Belizean counterparts," said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey V. Morganthaler, commanding officer of SPS-JHSV 14 ashore. "They bring a different set of experiences to the table, which enables the exchange of ideas to occur and better the forces involved."
The AFPs worked closely with their host-nation counterparts in the areas of explosive ordnance disposal, diving, land navigation, live-fire exercises, river operations and arrest procedures.
"Seeing the progress from the exchanges of the U.S. military and BDF service members was really impressive," said BDF Lt. Col. James Requeña, 1st Infantry Battalion commanding officer. "These exchanges helped us with gaining security, stability, prosperity and peace within Belize."
When service members were not conducting SMEEs, they had the privilege to go and experience the Belizean culture.
"Belize is just an all around beautiful place. If it's not the scenery, it's the people, if it's not the people, it's the ocean," said Builder Constructionman James Carney, attached to CBMU 202, a native of Long Island, New York. "It was just an overall great experience, and I am already looking forward to the next country."
Even though the mission is complete in Belize, the partnerships that were built the last six weeks will have a lasting impact for future engagements.
"On behalf of the commander Belize Defense Force, myself, and the men and women of 1st infantry battalion, we appreciated your stay over in Belize and hope that this friendship and partnership can continue in the future," said Requeña.
Military Sealift Command joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) is scheduled to transport service members to Guatemala to continue the SPS-JHSV 14 mission.
"My goals for the next country are similar to the ones I had for this country and that's to show up and have that quality exchange of ideas," said Morganthaler. "Its not about one country leading and the other country following, it's about both of us exchanging information to find ways to better each other professionally as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, or Marines."
SPS-JHSV 14 is a U.S. Navy deployment focused on subject matter expert exchanges with partner nation militaries and security forces. U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet employ maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships that foster regional security in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.