Navy destroyer makes historic African visits
September 18, 2007
A U.S. Navy ship pulled into Tanzania this month for the first time in 40 years as the 6th Fleet continues its push for maritime security in and around African nations.
The guided missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman called on Dar es Salaam on Sept. 5 before sailing south to make another notable port visit to Moroni, Comoros, a week later, according to recent Navy press releases.
“Peaceful, secure and prosperous seas are in everyone’s best interest,” said Capt. Nicholas Holman, addressing a group of diplomats and Tanzanian government and military officials, a release stated. “We look forward to building a strong partnership with Tanzania and working together to achieve this very important goal.”
A few years ago, Naval Forces Europe/6th Fleet began a maritime security push to enhance a naval presence in African waters to the south of Europe and the Black and Caspian seas to the east.
The aim is that those nations’ militaries establish stability on their own for their respective nations, which in turn would breed stability throughout the world. If vulnerable nations can protect themselves, Navy leaders have said, the United States won’t have to.
The visit to Comoros, a nation of three islands in the Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and the east coast of Africa, marked the first time a U.S. Navy ship visited in more than 30 years.
“We look forward to partnering with Comoros and other countries in Southeast Africa to combat maritime security threats like piracy, unlawful fishing and smuggling,” Holman said in a release.
Holman is commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa’s newly established Southeast Africa Task Group CTG 60.5.
During the Tanzania visit, Forrest Sherman sailors worked with Tanzanian military personnel aboard the ship and at the country’s Maritime Institute, sharing techniques for ship damage control, force protection and basic first aid.
“We’re interacting and they’re asking a lot of questions,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jenny Staggs, a hospital corpsman, who showed Tanzanian sailors how to treat a sucking chest wound and compound fractures. “It’s going well.”
The Forrest Sherman and its crew of more than 320 sailors left its homeport of Norfolk, Va., on July 9, and operated in the Black Sea before sailing to Tanzania.