The EPF’s shallow draft allows the Pacific Partnership
mission to attain access to shallow water ports and more
austere locations that other mission platforms — such as
the hospital ship USNS Mercy — could not go,” he said.
Pacific Partnership, the largest annual multilateral
humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,
aims to enhance regional coordination in areas such as
medical readiness and preparedness for man-made and
natural disasters. The PP- 17 team made its initial port
visit to Hambantota, Sri Lanka, March 7-18 embarked on
Fall River. The visit marked the first mission to Sri Lanka
in the 12-year history of Pacific Partnership.
Africa Partnership Station (APS) exemplifies the
effective use of naval capability for theater security
cooperation to build maritime capacity and achieve
better awareness resulting in a safer and more secure
maritime environment. And the EPF is perfect for the
job. Key to the success of APS has been the involvement of USNS Spearhead, the first vessel of the class.
During the APS mission last year, Spearhead
embarked a combined law enforcement detachment
that worked with the Ghanaian Navy’s Western Naval
Command Maritime Operations Center and patrol ves-
sels to identify and head off a vessel that had been
taken over by pirates and was transiting the Ghanaian
exclusive economic zone, as well as
conducted boardings of two vessels,
citing one for follow-on judicial
Express 2016, the Gabon Navy
conducted five simulated scenario
boarding exercises aboard Spearhead
to test the boarding teams’ abilities
to conduct maritime interdiction
operations to detect illicit activity,
and a cross-deck event with the
U.K. Royal Fleet Auxiliary small
tanker RFA Gold Rover.
Modifications have been made
to USNS Trenton to take on a new
“Trenton will primarily be
used to conduct intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance
operations in the Mediterranean
Sea in support of Navy operations
in Europe and Africa,” said L.
Amelia Umayam, a spokeswoman
for the U.S. Sixth Fleet.
In the U.S. Fourth Fleet AOR,
Spearhead provided logistical support to Continuing
Promise 2017 (CP- 17), which brought vital medi-
cal assistance to nearly 13,000 patients ashore and
transported 169 mission participants to Puerto
Barrios, Guatemala, and Trujillo, Honduras. Nearly
14,700 patients were treated altogether in Guatemala,
Honduras and Colombia. Additionally, Spearhead con-
ducted several resupply stops in Key West, Fla., to ferry
$1.8 million in donated medical supplies from U.S.-
based charities in addition to 3,260 tons of cargo and
medical supplies for CP- 17.
“The expeditionary fast transport ship has proven to
be a cornerstone of our ability to engage with our part-
ners in the U.S. Southern Command AOR,” said Capt.
Errin Armstrong, commander, Destroyer Squadron 40,
who serves as the CP- 17 mission commander.
“EPF is a unique, highly flexible platform that can
provide expeditious movement of personnel and equip-
ment ashore to conduct a variety of operations quickly
and efficiently. This dynamic ability to project support
ashore — such as medical support, personnel, adaptive
force packages and associated equipment — is essential
for hosting a variety of mission sets,” Armstrong said.
“In concept, EPF is designed for the rapid, intratheater
transport of military personnel and equipment. In short,
EPF is a ‘truck’ that we can configure to use.
The expeditionary fast transport (EPF) USNS Fall River arrives in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, to par-
ticipate in a Pacific Partnership 2017 mission stop March 7. It is the first time an EPF has been
used as the primary mission platform for Pacific Partnership. The visit also marked the first mis-
sion to Sri Lanka in the 12-year history of Pacific Partnership.