PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (NNS) -- USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), along with various embarked units, began humanitarian/civic assistance (HCA) operations here Oct. 25, marking the ship's fourth stop in the Caribbean Phase of Continuing Promise (CP) 2008.
CP's HCA mission to Trinidad builds on and encourages the establishment of new partnerships between and among the host nation, participating partner nations, non-government organizations (NGO) and international organizations.
"We'll be working hand-in-hand with our neighbors," said Capt. Fernandez Ponds, CP 2008 mission commander. "By working together and sharing our knowledge, we can address concerns common to the region, while also demonstrating our commitment to developing cooperative solutions and fostering lasting bonds of friendship."
CP's medical contingent, led by Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 4, with personnel from the U.S Public Health Service; Canada; Brazil; the Netherlands: and non-government organizations Project Hope and International Aid, moved medical equipment and personnel ashore to begin a 13-day clinical operation, augmenting local medical providers at the Couva District Health Facility and the Arima District Health Facility.
The embarked Navy Seabee Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202 along with engineers from the Air Force's 5th Civil Engineer Squadron Prime Base Emergency Engineer Force also began moving equipment ashore to prepare for renovation work in the Port of Spain and Tunapuna regions at the All-in-One Child Development Center, the St. Jude's School for Girls and Cyril Ross Nursery.
Kearsarge recently left the Dominican Republic where its contingent worked with the host nation on numerous medical, dental, veterinary and construction projects.
Medical specialists from Kearsarge worked together with Dominican medical professionals to conduct nearly 750 dental exams and procedures, more than 2,100 optometry exams, 35 surgeries aboard Kearsarge, provide more than 16,000 patients primary medical care and filled more than 31,600 prescriptions at several sites in the area.
Engineers assigned to Navy Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 and Air Force Civil Engineering Squadron 5s Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force completed projects at four sites. The work included the construction of a modified SEA hut to house four new classrooms, expanding a local elementary school in Sabana Grande; and the rehab of a medical clinic in Bonao.
Kearsarge Sailors also participated at various volunteer community relations projects at the engineering sites, offering extra hands to help with landscaping, construction, painting and building playgrounds.
The ship's mission exemplifies the U.S. maritime strategy which emphasizes deploying forces to build confidence and trust among nations through collective maritime security efforts that focus on common threats and mutual interests.
The mission of CP is to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian and civic assistance as well as veterinary, medical, dental and civil engineering support to six partner nations and to send a strong message of U.S. compassion, support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean.
USS Kearsarge is under the operational control of U.S. 4th Fleet. U.S. 4th Fleet's mission is to direct United States naval forces operating in the Caribbean, and Central and South American regions and interact with partner nation navies to shape maritime environment.
The CP Caribbean Phase is the second of two HCA deployments to the Southern Command area of focus for 2008. The first CP deployment was conducted by USS Boxer (LHD 4) in the Pacific.
Embarked units and organizations aboard Kearsarge for CP include Commander, Amphibious Squadron 8, Fleet Surgical Team 4; U.S. Public Health Service; Navy Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202; Air Force Civil Engineering Squadron 5s Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force; contingents of medical personnel from the armed forces of Canada, The Netherlands and Brazil; Navy Assault Craft Unit 2; Naval Beach Group 2; non-governmental organizations International Aide and Project Hope; U.S. Navy Maritime Civil Affairs Squadron 2; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 and Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 464.
For more news from 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns.