Spearhead Deploys, Marking the Start of Southern Partnership Station
MAYPORT, Fla. — The U.S. Navy has deployed the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Spearhead in support of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2018 to the Caribbean, Central and South America to conduct subject matter expert exchanges and water well construction projects from July to October, the U.S. 4th Fleet said in a July 24 release.
SPS is an annual series of U.S. Navy deployments focused on exchanges with regional partner nation militaries and security forces. This year’s deployment will visit Panama, Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador, and Trinidad and Tobago to work alongside those nations’ military forces, security forces, civilian health professionals and other governmental agencies.
SPS 18 is a U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) directed deployment planned by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT) and conducted by deployed adaptive force packages (AFPs) under the direction of the Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40 staff.
AFPs are specialized teams of U.S. service members from the fields of engineering, diving, explosive ordnance disposal and medical. They are embarked on Spearhead to work with partner nation forces during naval-focused training exercises, military-to-military engagements, and community relations projects in an effort to enhance partnerships with regional maritime activities and improve the operational readiness of participants while ensuring interoperability.
The AFPs comprise military personnel from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, Destroyer Squadron 40, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 55th Signal Company and U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command.
The deployment will focus on enhancing cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services and improving operational readiness for all participants. Additionally, the mission will provide an opportunity for U.S. and partner nations to operate in a multinational environment, refine coordination, improve interoperability and demonstrate flexibility. Assigned units will focus on locally identified needs to include port and harbor security, health service systems and humanitarian response infrastructure.
USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT supports USSOUTHCOM’s joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.