USS New Orleans Arrives in Colombia in Support of A-SPS 2010

USS New Orleans Arrives in Colombia in Support of A-SPS 2010

By Dialogo
August 03, 2010

USS New Orleans along with Amphibious Squadron
(PHIBRON) 5, and other embarked units arrived at Naval
Base Bahia Malaga, Colombia for the third stop in support of this year’s
Amphibious-Southern Partnership Station (A-SPS)

A-SPS is the amphibious portion of the annual
Southern Partnership Station, which is a deployment of various specialty platforms
to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility in Latin America and the
Caribbean. The mission’s primary goal is mission-focused information sharing
with navies, coast guards, and civilian services throughout the region in order to
enhance regional maritime capabilities and security.

This visit supports U.S. Southern Command goals of ensuring theater security,
enhancing regional stability, and strengthening relationships among regional
partners. New Orleans conducted exercises and multinational exchanges with Mexico,
Peru, and Colombia to build on relationships built through previous SPS deployments. In addition to subject matter exchanges,
A-SPS 10 conducted humanitarian and civic assistance
through community relations projects and Project Handclasp deliveries in the local
area of Bahia Malaga.

The ship and embarked units have planned several subject matter exchanges
including damage control, firefighting, engineering, and medical. These exchanges
take place aboard New Orleans, as well as a Colombian navy ship.

In addition to the professional exchanges, service members from the U.S. and
partner nations participate in a sports day, some social events, and in painting a
local school.

“This is a great opportunity to get out and interact with our Colombian
counterparts,” said PHIBRON 5 Commodore, Capt. Peter
J. Brennan, A-SPS mission commander. “This
professional exchange of knowledge and seamanship is a great way for all nations
involved to learn from each other and to enhance their own processes. I am also
thrilled that we can provide some extra manpower and supplies to a local school. I
know the Sailors are really looking forward to it. The sign-up sheets asking for
volunteers were filled up the first day.”

The New Orleans, along with partner nations and Special Purpose Marine Air
Ground Task Force 24 (SPMAGTF 24) most recently
participated in both Partnership of the Americas 2010 and Southern Exchange 2010 in
support of A-SPS, conducting joint amphibious operations
in Salinas and Ancon, Peru.

Subject matter experts from the U.S., Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico,
Peru, and Uruguay have been participating in cooperative training exercises, and
information exchanges in a variety of subjects such as refueling at sea, boarding
team operations, and damage control.

Service members from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay
deployed with New Orleans in order to facilitate interaction between their navies
and the U.S. Navy through subject matter exchanges and interaction. This was
accomplished through presentations, personal interaction, and hands-on, joint
exercises. They boarded the ship in San Diego on June 10, and while the rest of the
partner navy service members departed in Peru, those from Colombia remained on
board. Lt. Cmdr. Luis Pulgarin is one of the Colombian officers still with the ship.

“The most important thing for me to take back to my country is how you
do business on the ship, for example how you handle emergencies on board, and how
you conduct business on the bridge,” said Pulgarin. “When I compare the
way [the U.S. Navy] does things to the way my country’s navy does things,
there may be some things I can take back to help improve how we operate. I can also
offer suggestions that may help the way [U.S. Naval] officers conduct their business
as well.”

USS New Orleans, along with PHIBRON 5 and other embarked units have already visited Manzanillo,
Mexico; Lima, Peru; and are also scheduled to visit Balboa, Panama during the
three-month deployment.