– GDF personnel to benefit from subject matter expert exchange
For the first time ever a United States Navy vessel has docked in Guyana. The high speed vessel Swift (HSV 2) arrived at the Guyana National Shipping Corporation wharf sometime around 09:30 hours yesterday.
The HSV2 will be in Guyana for the next two weeks and will be engaged in subject matter exchange with the Guyana Defence Force, with a focus on the Coast Guard arm. Mission Commander, Captain Kurt Hedberg in his address to the media, said it is his hope that the trip will be both beneficial to Guyana and the United States.
“What we are here to do is develop relationship, and we have designed our visit in such a way that we could learn from our host country and in turn share our knowledge.”
He explained that for the first week of their visit, his crew members will benefit from a training which will be spearheaded by the local Coast Guards and the second week’s training session will be headed by them. Some of the areas of training to be covered include, senior leadership, junior leadership, instructor training, medical combat life saver, maintenance management of small boats, small boat repairs, fiberglass hull repair and armed sentry. Other areas will include land navigation, urban security tactics as well as patrolling techniques.
“We have shared interests in security and common concerns,” he explained. “We will share best practices and ideas on how to deal with those common concerns during our two-week stay here.”
The leaders of both services met, along with the Military Liaison Office Commander, Col. Tod Furtado and Lt. Marlon Chichester, the subject matter exchange officer for Guyana’s Coast Guard. Chichester is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, class of 2005.
In addition, the crew aboard is expected to engage in several community and military exchange programmes.
The force composition is made up of 15 Navy Instructors, 20 Navy Construction Battalion (SEABEES), 8 Marines and 20 Merchant Marines.
During the vessel’s stay here from August 29 to September 10, the 20 Navy Construction Battalion will be constructing interior rooms for dental and nursing at the La Penitence Medical Center. A wooden building will also be constructed to offset overcrowding at the Plaisance High School. The ‘Seabees’ have been engaging in general maintenance and construction at the Amerindian Hostel.
In addition to their humanitarian programmes, the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs and the Civil Defence Commission are to receive 84,000 high nutrition meals, while three pallets of medical, hygiene and recreation items are to be donated to Ministry of Education.
The ship came from Barbados and will continue on to the Dominican Republic after leaving Guyana. The naval ship will also visit: Barbados, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, and Suriname.
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