HSV Swift: highlighting support to Africa Partnership Station

MSC-chartered ship HSV Swift (HSV 2) visited Mindelo, Cape Verde, in January, participating in its final Africa Partnership Station and its final deployment to the Europe and Africa areas of responsibility, where it has supported five years of APS and other theater security cooperation port visits over the years. Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Felicito, from the Navy Public Affairs Support Element East, joined Swift during its visit to Mindelo where he spoke with Swift’s contract mariner crew and military detachment personnel about Swift’s final visit to the AOR. 

Q&A with contract mariner Third Mate Nathan Gresh:

Q:  How do you feel about this being Swift’s last deployment and participation for APS?
A:  It’s certainly a little bittersweet, but I’m glad to be a part of the last APS mission for the Swift. However it’s always exciting to be moving on and heading in a new direction.

Q:  What made you want to work on Swift?  What were you doing beforehand for your last job?
A:  The uniqueness of the platform and the high speed. Before Swift,  I was on the M/V Harriette, a bulk grain ship. We delivered U.S. Aid grain to many different countries in Africa. Our average cruising speed on the Harriette was around 14 knots, so you can imagine how I was excited to navigate a ship that often operates in the 30’s and can even top 40.

Q:  What do you think about working on the ship itself and your time spent working with it and the crew?
A:  The Swift has been an excellent learning experience. It’s been exciting supporting the Navy in its various missions and a pleasure working with my fellow CONMARS, most of who have been sailing on the Swift for multiple years. Sailing is a lot more enjoyable when the crew is veteran and skilled at their duties.

Q:  Why do you think supporting something like APS is important?
A:  A lot of the partnership nations are really starting to develop and it’s great to see the U.S. Navy is taking an active role participating in that development.

Q:  What do you think were the goals and do you think they were accomplished?
A:  I think the main goal is in the name “Africa Partnership.” The idea is to help developing nations and build strong relations for the future. I believe we’ve planted good seeds with these APS missions.

Q:  What’s been your best memory about the Swift and its APS participation?
A:  I participated with the Marines as they taught hand-to-hand combat and baton combat. It was a good learning experience for me. It was also fun because the Africans from the host nation were very enthusiastic so it made it that much more enjoyable to take part in training with them.

Q:  Any other comments?
A:  All and all I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to sail aboard the Swift. I’ll most likely never get another chance to do something like this again and I don’t take it for granted.

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