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Cmdr. Garry Wright, from the U.S. Naval War College’s Assist and Assess Team, is building international maritime partnerships as mission commander for HSV-Southern Partnership Station 2012 (HSV-SPS 12) aboard High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift.NEWPORT, R.I. – Cmdr. Garry Wright is building international maritime partnerships as mission commander for HSV-Southern Partnership Station 2012 (HSV-SPS 12) aboard High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift. 
 
Wright is temporarily away from the U.S. Naval War College’s Assist and Assess Team (AAT) where he is a Fleet observer/trainer and the AAT's lead action officer for Fourth Fleet. He will return to that job in the College of Operational and Strategic Leadership when he comes back to Newport in March.
 
His crew most recently departed the Dominican Republic, the mission’s first stop on a six-month deployment, on Nov. 27, following three weeks in the port of Santo Domingo.
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (Nov. 11, 2011) High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift offloads 54 pallets of Project Handclasp materials as a part of Southern Partnership Station 2012. The supplies consisted of water filters, wheel chairs, and high calorie food, which will be distributed throughout the country. Southern Partnership Station is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility in the Caribbean, Central and South America. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Matthew Comer) 
Service members from every armed service are participating in the mission to engage in subject-matter-expert exchanges (SMEE), exchanging information regarding medical and veterinary practices, small-unit leadership, port security, and construction.

As an example, an exchange between 54 Dominican Navy and civilian security personnel and the mission’s three Navy Criminal Investigative Service representatives explored the importance of and approaches to installation security and surveillance. A practical exercise reinforced how to identify risky and suspicious behavior.

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (Nov. 17, 2011) Cmdr. Garry Wright (far right) pauses during a reception held onboard High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift with key Dominican Republic military leadership and the U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, the Honorable Raul Yzaguirre (center). Wright is on a temporary assignment away from the U.S. Naval War College as mission commander for HSV-Southern Partnership Station 2012. (U.S. Army photo)"This kind of interaction exemplifies why our partnerships are important," said Wright. "Security is the cornerstone of everything we do, and the purpose for which we strive."

Dominican Republic Rear Adm. Luis Rafael Lee Ballester, Director of Port Security, visited during the exchange to tour the ship and observe the classroom interactions.
 
"Working together is the best way for us to increase the security of our ports," said Ballestar. "More importantly, the more we work together, the closer we become as partner nations."

In another project, seventeen volunteer crew members from SPS worked with parents, teachers, and students to paint buildings and clean the school grounds at Escuela Rafaela Santaella on Nov. 18 as part of a three-week project run by Seabees from Navy Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 23. The Seabees spent the first two weeks conducting electrical, structural and plumbing repairs. 
 
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (Nov. 24, 2011) Steelworker 2nd Class Barron Montowski, assigned to Navy Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 23 embarked aboard High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift, attends a recognition ceremony with students at Rafaela Santaella Elementary School. NMCB-23 completed minor structural, electrical and plumbing repairs to the school during a three-week Southern Partnership Station project. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Matthew Comer)"It is great to see everyone here working together to make the school better," said Josefine Paulina, principal of Escuela Rafaela Santaella. "I put so much of my passion into this school, and it great to see that passion in the volunteers here."
 
The improvements will affect the 1,600 students who attend the primary school, as well as the 500 evening and adult-learning students.
 
"It's great to see the kids, teachers and parents working with the service members," said Wright. "I think it shows what people can really accomplish when they have a common goal and work together."

Other collaborations in the Dominican Republic included the U.S. Marines participating in an extensive partnership with their Dominican counterparts, developing small-unit leadership, marksmanship and land navigation. Medical, veterinary, and civil affairs teams also worked closely with Dominican civilians and service members to exchange information and build lasting relationships.
 
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (Nov. 16, 2011) Cpl. Lucas Ottandar-Todd, assigned to the Marine Corps detachment embarked aboard High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift, observes Dominican Republic marines as they practice martial arts training on San Isidro Air Base. Swift is deployed supporting Southern Partnership Station 2012 during an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Alan B. Owens)During the six-month deployment, HSV-SPS 12 is scheduled to also visit El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala, Peru, Haiti and Guantanamo Bay.
 
Southern Partnership Station is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) area of responsibility in the Caribbean, Central and South America. The mission's primary goal is information sharing with partner nation service members and civilians in the region.

From Naval War College Public Affairs
Compiled from U.S. Navy news articles and information from the College of Operational and Strategic Leadership

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Edited and posted by Cmdr. Carla McCarthy