Global Fleet Station Completes First Visit to Panama

Wednesday, May 16, 2007
U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard training teams concluded the first visit to Colon, Panama, during the pilot Global Fleet Station (GFS) on May 11 aboard High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift. Training teams from Navy Expeditionary Training Command in Little Creek, Va., along with U.S. Coast Guard training teams from International Training Division, based in Yorktown, Va., facilitated five training sessions in areas requested by the nation of Panama.

These courses included a coxswain course, two sessions of the port security and vulnerability course, as well as two leadership seminars. “The past two weeks in Panama have been very productive,” said Capt. Douglas Wied, commander, Task Group (TG) 40.9. “Through our training and subject matter expert exchanges, we’ve continued in the tradition of a strong friendship with our Panamanian counterparts.” Over the course of two weeks, 91 Panamanian maritime service members and Panamanian National Police trained side-by-side with their American counterparts. Various subjects were covered including techniques for assessing internal security, assessing vulnerabilities and how to put plans in place to mitigate them, navigation and small-boat handling, as well as sharing ideas on effective leadership.

During this visit to Colon, Task Group 40.9 members had the opportunity to visit the Panama Canal’s Gatun Locks and other sites in Panama City. They participated in a community relations project, where they repaired the floor at the Arco Isis Gymnasium boxing training facility for at-risk Panamanian youth and visited a local school to engage students in discussion on the United States, the U.S. Navy and the value of education. They conducted several media events aboard HSV 2 Swift to showcase the efforts of the United States forces to work in partnership with Panamanian counterparts to enhance regional security.

Task Group 40.9, consisting of the crew of HSV 2 Swift, training teams from Navy Expeditionary Training Command and U.S. Coast Guard International Training Division, and Department of State representatives, is deployed as part of the pilot GFS to the Caribbean Basin in Central America. While deployed, members of TG 40.9 will participate in information exchanges and training with partnership countries. They are scheduled to return to Panama for another round of cooperative exchanges later in the summer. The mission is designed to validate the GFS concept for the Navy and support U.S. Southern Command objectives for its area of responsibility by enhancing cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services and improving operational readiness for the participating partner nations. TG 40.9 is scheduled to bring their teams to Belize, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Panama.

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Cynthia Clark, Task Group 40.9 Public Affairs

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