Open Eyes Opinion
USNS Spearhead Deploys To 6th Fleet Area of Operations
JANUARY 8, 2016
ROTA, Spain – The Military Sealift Command expeditionary fast transport vessel, USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1) arrived in Rota, Spain, Jan. 8, 2016, the first port visit on its deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
While in theater, Spearhead will serve under the international collaborative capacity-building program Africa Partnership Station, working alongside African partner nations to enhance maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. Started in 2007, APS is a spectrum of activities that develops skill sets and interoperability among regional partners.
“This is an important mission because it gives us the opportunity to continue working with our African partners so we can further exchange best practices in maritime security operations and increase interoperability through adaptable force packages,”
– Cmdr. Tim Ferracci, APS Spearhead mission commander
“We’ve made improvements since our first APS mission back in 2014 in the way we operate and integrate with our partner nations. By enabling all groups to work together, the combined team is much stronger than the individuals,”
– Capt. Douglas Casavant, civil service master, USNS Spearhead
- This is Spearhead’s third deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet AOO, deploying in theater for the last three years.
- APS works to develop the maritime capacity of countries under the four pillars of the maritime capacity building continuum: Maritime Professionals, Maritime Domain Awareness, Infrastructure, and Response Capabilities.
- As part of APS, Spearhead will participate in U.S. Naval Forces Africa-facilitated maritime exercise Obangame Express, which will take place in the Gulf of Guinea.
- While on deployment, Spearhead is scheduled to visit and interact with more than 20 nations and sail more than 15,000 miles, highlighting U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet’s commitment and emphasis to partnerships and operating forward.
- Spearhead, a 338-foot-long aluminum catamaran with a 20,000 square-foot mission bay area, can be reconfigured to allow it to adapt to a wide-range of operations and missions. Potential missions include carrying containerized portable hospitals for disaster relief as well as transporting tanks and troops.
- U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts that full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
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