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.
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.
"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.
"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.
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
Edited and posted by Cmdr. Carla McCarthy