The Southern Partnership Station Joint High Speed Vessel 2014 (SPS-JHSV 14) mission came to an end and the vessel returned from deployment Oct. 7 after concluding a successful four-month deployment involving subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) in Belize, Guatemala, Colombia, and Honduras.
SPS-JHSV 14 focused on building partner capacity with host-nation counterparts and fostering relationships with their militaries and communities, while using the Military Sealift Command JHSV USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) for sealift of personnel and 500 tons of cargo and vehicles between each country.
The mission began in Belize from June 2 to July 22 in Punta Gorda and Price Barracks, the two locations where U.S. service members conducted SMEEs. Participants covered 64 training topics during that time with 205 Belizean participants. While ashore in Belize, U.S. Marine Corps 8th ESB built an obstacle course at Price Barracks, CORIVRON 2 worked jointly with the U.S. Marine Corps LASO team, and the medical AFPs facilitated the treatment and care of more than 300 patients in various medical specialties.
SPS-JHSV 14 continued work in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala from July 28 to Aug. 27. There, Sailors covered 71 training topics with 249 Guatemalan participants. There were also many opportunities for involvement in the local community.
In order to support the mission in Colombia, Navy divers from MDSU 2 and explosive ordnance disposal technicians from EODMU 3 travelled to Colombia for engagements from Aug. 14 to Sept. 4. MDSU 2 worked with Colombian Navy dive school students and instructors, increasing proficiency, training, and techniques. EOD classroom training was also conducted, facilitating tactical training and procedures.
The final stop in the SPS-JHSV 14 mission was Honduras, from Aug. 30 to Oct. 4, where Sailors conducted SMEEs in Puerto Castillo. Sailors covered 70 training topics with 231 Honduran service members. U.S. Marine Corps 8th ESB Marines constructed an obstacle course, and medical AFPs facilitated a MEDCAP that tended to more than 400 people. Hospital renovations were also completed at the Dr. Salvador Paredes Hospital, improving the facility where host nation personnel receive treatment.
This mission allowed for service members to expand their knowledge and skill sets outside of their specialties.
USNS Spearhead continued the second portion of its maiden deployment in the Caribbean Sea while the SPS 14 mission also continued in the various countries. Spearhead conducted experimentation with Navy Warfare Development Command that included many firsts for the JHSV class.
In support of the SPS mission, USNS Choctaw County (JHSV 2) transported the AFPs and their cargo from Honduras back to Mayport, Florida, and Norfolk, Virginia, to conclude the SPS-JHSV 14 deployment.
Press Release, October 09, 2014; Image: US Navy