By Betsy Thorpe
Information on African Partnership Station provided by United States Navy
Petty Officer 3rd Class Marchello Fields of USS Nashville carries boxed supplies into a medical center for a Project Handclasp donation during Africa Partnership Station Nashville’s port stop in Port Gentil.
Photo Courtesy United States Navy
The U.S.S. Nashville recently departed Port Genitl in Gabon after a 12 day port stay as part of the ongoing Africa Partnership Station. APS brings an international team of maritime experts to Africa to offer assistance in addressing maritime safety and security challenges such as illegal fishing, piracy and drug and human trafficking. The APS Nashville crew also conducts community outreach projects in the port cities they visit. The projects include improving the local schools and orphanages as well as delivering medical, hygiene and school supplies to area clinics, schools and orphanages.
Before arriving at Port Genitl, APS Nashville commander, Captain Cindy Thebaud said, “I am very pleased that we have this opportunity to return to Gabon as part of Africa Partnership Station, our team looks forward to working with their counterparts in Gabon as well as the opportunity to enjoy the local culture and hospitality.”
In a phone call from the ship, crew member and West Nashville native, Seaman Reilly Mealer told Nashville Past And Present that he is very proud to serve on the ship that is named after his hometown. He also said that he takes a lot of pride in this mission, “It is a good thing to be helping people help themselves.” Mealer also said that he didn’t know what the Nashville’s mission was when he volunteered to serve on her, but he feels fortunate to be part of the African Partnership Station initiative.
African Partnership Nashville 2009 will end in June. The ship will decommission soon after arriving at the U.S. Naval Station in Virginia Beach, Virginia on June 12th.