Farragut Completes Successful Theater Security Cooperation Mission with Curacao

September 9, 2008 by admin
Filed under: Government & Politics, Press Releases 

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao (NNS) — USS Farragut (DDG 99) departed Willemstad Sept. 3 after five days of conducting theater security cooperation events with the Dutch Navy and the people of Curacao during Partnership of the Americas (POA) 2008.

POA 2008 is a U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)-sponsored program, implemented by 4th Fleet and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40, designed to foster greater interoperability and cooperation between partner nations throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Farragut Sailors have participated in POA 2008 since April and worked with countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru and Ecuador. Farragut is currently participating in POA 2008 with USS Kauffman (FFG 59), their embarked LAMPS SH-60B Helicopter Squadron 42 Detachment 7 and DESRON 40.

“Theater Security Cooperation engagements ensure that partners in the region have the opportunity to work together to promote regional security and to ensure the free flow of commerce in the shipping lanes that our economies so heavily rely on,” said Cmdr. Scott Dugan, Farragut commanding officer.

“The Dutch Navy is a leader in promoting security and countering drug trafficking here in the Caribbean, so we are very excited to have had the opportunity to learn from each other.”

Curacao is a part of the Netherlands Antilles and serves as a forward operating location (FOL) for the Dutch Navy to conduct counter narco-terrorism (CNT) operations. Consequently, Farragut’s crew, who will conduct CNT operations during the final month of POA 2008, had much to share with their Dutch counterparts. The Dutch Navy is highly adept at combating narco-terrorism throughout the Caribbean. In late August, while working in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard, Dutch forces made one of the largest drug busts in history, capturing more than four tons of cocaine.

Farragut Sailors commenced their cooperation with Dutch Naval forces Aug. 29, during a maneuvering exercise with the frigate HNLMS Van Speijk (F 828). The mission continued with a flight deck reception for later that evening, a subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) tour of the Dutch Command Center Sept. 1 and a community relations project Sept. 2. Additional events included ship’s tours for more than 25 people, a soccer match with teams from the Dutch and Brazilian navies and the commanding officer’s luncheon aboard the British fast fleet tanker RFA Wave Ruler (A390) with the ship’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Nigel Budd, as well as the consulate generals from Great Britain and the United States.

Farragut’s flight deck reception hosted several high-profile guests, including the Governor of the Netherlands Antilles, Fritz Goedgedrag; the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles, Emily de Jongh-Elhage; Commodore P.W Lenselink, Commander Netherlands Forces Caribbean, and the U.S. Consul General of the Netherlands Antilles, Timothy J. Dunn; Afterward, guests enjoyed guided tours provided by members of the crew.

The tour of the Dutch command center offered Farragut’s department heads and senior operations leadership insight into the organization and operations of the Dutch Navy and Coast Guard’s Curacao command and control center

Lt. Andy Strickland, Farragut’s weapons officer, gained valuable insight during the visit.

“The two entities [Dutch Navy and Coast Guard] share a relationship much like our Navy and Coast Guard and work very closely with respect to the counter narco-terror mission. The visit was very informative, and their capabilities are extremely impressive.”

Farragut Sailors interacted with the community of Curacao during a community relations project and a Project Handclasp exchange. Project Handclasp supplies large pallets of provisions to various hospitals, schools, and other community groups to express the United States’ continuing commitment to partner nations. During the Curacao Project Handclasp exchange, 10 Farragut Sailors unloaded numerous pallets filled with medical supplies and children’s toys at the Christian Children’s Hospice Center in Siloam, Curacao, which serves as both a home for terminally ill children and an orphanage.

Later in the week, Farragut crew members painted three buildings; repaired fences; and did some landscaping at the Dr. Nelly Winkel School, which accommodates approximately 200 elementary level students.

Lt. Andre Trofort, DESRON 40 chaplain, coordinated both the community relations event and Project Handclasp events. He attributed the mission’s success to the hard work and willingness of Farragut Sailors and lauded the contributions of U.S. Air Force units stationed in Curacao.

“Their assistance in both the planning and contribution was a very great asset to the COMREL project,” said Lt. Trofort. “The principal welcomed and thanked us for coming. I believe our efforts were greatly appreciated.”

Not all interactions were work-related. The Farragut soccer team demonstrated their on-field diplomacy in a series of games against teams from the Dutch and Brazilian navies. Farragut’s team captain, Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Casey Lima, said the competition was friendly and productive.

“It was a great opportunity to be able to associate with players from other navies, especially when it involves playing a game we both love.”

Dugan said he believes the visit was a great success.

“Our visit to Curacao allowed our Sailors to support the theater security cooperation missions which are so important to our overarching objectives. TSC missions demonstrate that interoperability is essential to any form of progress, whether it be repairing a school or combating narco-terrorism.

“We are forging important relationships with our neighbors. As a result, we will be able to better work together to ensure maritime stability throughout the region.”

For more news from USS Farragut, visit www.navy.mil/local/ddg99

Source: navy.mil

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