As part of a larger U.S. interagency effort towards greater stability in Africa, approximately 1,400 Sailors and Marines aboard USS Emory S. Land (ESL) (AS 39) are deploying to the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) region in late February 2006.
Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, Vice Adm. J. Boomer Stufflebeem says the deployment is part of a comprehensive theater security cooperation strategy benefiting all involved.
“U. S. European Command and CNE-C6F (Commander, Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet) efforts in Africa, and specifically in the Gulf of Guinea, focus on strengthening partnerships and improving overall maritime security. By deploying Emory S. Land to the Gulf of Guinea region with embarked specialized training teams designed to bolster existing maritime capabilities within each of the participating nations, we hope to initiate a series of security cooperation activities that will promote positive working relationships between the U.S. and GoG nations, enhance regional stability, and foster positive relations among regional partners.”
The deployment will include numerous bilateral maritime safety and security training opportunities. The familiarization efforts will focus on maritime domain awareness, leadership development, natural disaster response, and medical awareness and disease prevention. Stufflebeem said the deployment is another example of the U.S. Navy’s creativity to focus efforts south and east of Europe.
“The deployment of ESL with embarked training capabilities is a great example of transformational approaches to help make a difference in the Gulf of Guinea. We are committed to be responsive in assisting emerging partners in Africa to develop indigenous maritime capability in order to preempt the elements of instability that may contribute to lawlessness and extremism.”
Gulf of Guinea nation participants in this year’s deployment include Sao Tome and Principe, Gabon, Congo, and Angola.
From Commander, Naval Forces Europe/Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs