USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) graduated 25 officers from the Mauritius Police Force during Africa Partnership Station (APS) East´s hub in Port Louis, Sept. 9.
Commanding Officer Cmdr. Angel Cruz presided over the graduation ceremony along with Political Officer David Campbell of the U.S. Embassy to Mauritius.
Over the course of four days, the students were enrolled in three professional training courses instructed on board the ship, including damage control and fire fighting, search and rescue planning, and shipboard electrical maintenance. The hub also included a junior officer running mate program and a helicopter squadron tour and information exchange.
An underway exercise planning conference also took place during the training hub to plan an at-sea bilateral training evolution. The planned training incorporated a visit, board, search and seizure communications and helicopter exercise with Roberts and the Mauritius Police Force Coast Guard the day the ship got underway from Port Louis, Sept. 12.
Campbell spoke of the training opportunities and information exchange at the graduation ceremony before the graduates were called-up, one-by-one, to retrieve their course completion certificates.
"No country or military has a monopoly on the best practices, and our service members know this," said Campbell. "That is why we always learn from these training opportunities, from you who have years of experience in these lands and seas. Thank you for being both trainees and trainers."
Campbell also emphasized the importance of APS training, bringing into focus the reality of today´s dynamic maritime security environment.
"The type of training you received is crucial more so now for meeting enormous challenges and vast responsibilities," said Campbell. "We are talking about piracy and armed robbery at sea, trafficking, counterterrorism, law enforcement and also illegal fishing."
In closing his remarks, Campbell reaffirmed the value of the partnership relationship-building that APS provides and has come to symbolize.
"Remember that this partnership is greatly enhanced by you," said Campbell. "The opportunity for you to study with your peers from other nations is simply invaluable and the relationships you formed during the training exercises will be enduring and invaluable as leaders in your respective services."
The visit to Mauritius marked Roberts´ fifth East African port visit in the past eight weeks. The other stops were in Mombasa, Kenya; Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; Victoria, Seychelles; and Maputo, Mozambique.
Samuel B. Roberts is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate that is homeported in Naval Station Mayport, Fla., and is currently on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.
Article by Lt. Cmdr. Suzanna Brugler, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs