Regional leaders welcomed personnel from USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) to Puerto Cabezas Aug. 12 marking the official beginning of operations in Nicaragua as part of the Caribbean phase of Continuing Promise (CP) 2008.
CP is a collaborative effort between the United States and partner militaries, non-governmental organizations and partner-nation support organizations to build strong partnerships that can be called upon in the event of a regional situation requiring cooperative solutions.
CP 2008 Mission Commander, Capt. Fernandez “Frank” Ponds, and Kearsarge Commanding Officer, Capt. Walter Towns thanked the community for their warm reception and presented a Continuing Promise plaque on behalf of the embarked joint and interagency team to Reynaldo Francis, the Coordinator Gobierno Regional.
“It is always good to be welcomed and feel welcome, most of all because we want to be here,” said Ponds. “When we are finished here, we will have built buildings, bridges and lasting friendships that will grow with generations to come.”
After the ceremony, Ponds and Towns toured the mission sites in the region.
Continuing Promise’s mission is to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian and civic assistance as well as veterinary, medical, dental and civil engineering support to six partner nations and to send a strong message of U.S. compassion, support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Kearsarge is under the operational control of U.S. 4th Fleet.
U.S. 4th Fleet’s mission is to direct United States naval forces operating in the Caribbean, and Central and South American regions and interact with partner nation navies to shape maritime environment.
The CP Caribbean phase is the second of two humanitarian civic assistance deployments to the Southern Command area of focus for 2008. The first CP deployment was conducted by USS Boxer (LHD 4) in the Pacific.
Embarked units and organizations aboard Kearsarge for CP include Commander, Amphibious Squadron 8, Fleet Surgical Team 4; Navy Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202;. Air Force Civil Engineering Squadron 5’s Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force; contingents of medical personnel from the armed forces of Canada, The Netherlands, Spain, France and Brazil; Navy Assault Craft Unit 2; Naval Beach Group 2; non-governmental organizations Operation Smile and Project Hope; U.S. Navy Maritime Civil Affairs Squadron 2; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28 and Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464.
William S. Parker