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Sports Help to Build Partnerships

February 24, 2014 at 10:25 AM UTC

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Tracey L. Whitley, Africa Partnership Station East Public Affairs


PORT EST, Reunion – Sailors from high speed vessel Swift (HSV 2) and USS Nicholas (FFG 47), supporting the mission of Africa Partnership Station (APS) East, took to the turf during their four-day port visit here, competing in a friendly game of soccer against a French navy team.

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Tracey L. Whitley, Africa Partnership Station East Public Affairs


PORT EST, Reunion – Sailors from high speed vessel Swift (HSV 2) and USS Nicholas (FFG 47), supporting the mission of Africa Partnership Station (APS) East, took to the turf during their four-day port visit here, competing in a friendly game of soccer against a French navy team.

The match, arranged a few weeks in advance, provided a unique venue for sailors from U.S., East African and French navies to participate in a military-to-military engagement and build relationships with one another.

“These activities are of vital importance to our overall mission and any time we are offered an opportunity to compete in a sporting event, we are excited,” said Kenyan Capt. Philip Mulumba, assistant training officer and sports coordinator on the APS staff. “It provides us with a chance to interact with members of other militaries and build allies in a fun environment.”

Mauritian maritime professionals will receive seminars and hands-on experience in areas of basic firefighting and damage control, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS), force protection measures, search and rescue procedures and compliant/non-compliant boarding.

The game was filled with intensity from beginning to end with stiff competition from both sides. However, the French navy team scored a goal with little time to spare, taking home the win, 3-2. In the end, the game wasn’t about wins or losses. It was about camaraderie.

“This game gave me a chance to get off the ship and enjoy some recreational time playing my favorite sport,” said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class David Chamberlain. “I think everybody had a lot of fun and even though we had many people from all over the world here, it is obvious that soccer is an international language all on its own.”

With successful port visits already complete in Djibouti, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania, Swift and Nicholas will continue visiting APS partner-nation ports and training with maritime professionals in support of APS East. The ships mission will take the sailors next to Comoros, Mauritius, and Seychelles.

APS is a worldwide initiative in support of Naval Forces Africa which aims to unite international partners to enhance maritime safety and security throughout the African continent.

Swift and Nicholas are on scheduled deployments within the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. APS East is being conducted in cooperation with Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa and United States Africa Command.