MOMBASA, Kenya (NNS) -- The Africa Partnership Station (APS) East Kenya Hub graduated 80 students representing six East African countries at Bandari College in Mombasa, Kenya, July 22.
Cmdr. Angel Cruz, USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) commanding officer, and Lt. Col. Thomas Nganga, commandant of the Kenya Navy Training School, presided over the graduation.
The students came from the countries of Djibouti, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.
"I want to thank the American government for this opportunity, and I want to thank the instructors for their knowledge and expertise," said Nganga. "May our partnership live, and may our partnership grow strong."
The graduates had one week of classroom training at the college and one week of hands-on training aboard small boats and the ship. Five courses were offered as part of APS Easts Kenya Hub, including Search and Rescue (SAR) Planning, Senior Enlisted Leadership, Meteorology, Maritime Intelligence Workshop and Small Boat Operations.
The lead instructors of each class had a chance to speak in front of the graduates before they were called-up, one-by-one, to retrieve their course completion certificates and an APS pin.
Lt. Brad Kasenberg, Mobile Training Team (MTT), leader from the Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command (MCAST), based out of Dam Neck, Va., spoke to his small boat operations graduating class.
"We appreciate having had the opportunity to come to Kenya and teach how to operate small boats, plotting and piloting, and we had a good time doing it. Thank you for inviting us, and we hope to be here next year to do it again," Kasenberg said.
U.S. 6th Fleet APS Liaison Officer Lt. Cmdr. Kelly Mosteller, opened the graduation ceremony with a few remarks that summed-up the APS mission.
"I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to witness the strengthening of the collaborations between the United States and her African partners, both on shore and on board the U.S. Navy ships, that participate in Africa Partnership Station," said Mosteller. "These students have not only developed their own personal knowledge, but have forged new ties with the neighbors. Ultimately, the security of Africas maritime environment depends on these partnerships."
APS is an international security cooperation initiative facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.