Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Africa Partnership Station in Liberia

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and U.S. Ambassador Donald Booth look at medical supply donations after cutting the ribbon during the opening ceremony for APS at Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town (March 26th, 2008)

The United States Navy Europe and Marine Forces Europe paid a two week visit to Liberia as part of the new “Africa Partnership Station.” The two week visit including off-shore training and equipment loading, delivery of U.S. donated postal equipment for Liberia’s postal service, Marines delivering humanitarian assistance, training for Liberian soldiers on the Fort McHenry and construction and repair work by the Navy Seabees. The events received wide press coverage and the presence of President Johnson-Sirleaf, who attended the “kick-off ceremony at Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town , toured the HSV Swift and the Fort McHenry and also hosted several senior U.S. officers including the Commander of Marine Forces Europe.

The event was the culmination of several months of planning by hundreds of people and just one of several stops the Navy made around the Gulf of Guinea basin in West Africa. Lieutenant Commander Esly Peters and Sergeant Major Martin Doxey of the U.S. Office of Defense Cooperation were both instrumental in coordinating and planning the ship visits. For our office the APS visit was the end of a very long three stretch in which we completed a basic training course, an infantry course, Liberian Armed Forces Day celebrations, President Bush’s visit to Monrovia and finally the APS events. Needless to say that while we were excited by the visit we finally managed to get a little sleep after APS left town.

The navy ships may have departed but they left behind a contingent of Seabees who will remain in Liberia for a few more months to complete humanitarian assistance construction projects.

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