By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sara Eshleman
The Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Carson City (T-EPF 7) departed Lagos, Nigeria, July 29, 2019, after completing a scheduled port visit in support of its 2019 Africa Partnership Station (APS) deployment to the Gulf of Guinea.
The trip to Lagos was Carson City’s fifth stop, having completed subject matter expert exchanges with its embarked military detachment in the port cities of Dakar, Senegal, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Sekondi and Tema, both in Ghana, prior to its arrival in Nigeria.
For U.S. Naval Forces Europe's New Orleans brass band "Topside," this is a repeat visit. The group said they were excited to return to Lagos after their last stay in March, as part of Obangame Express.
“It’s a rare opportunity to be able to come to Lagos twice in the same year,” said Musician 1st Class Joseph Schoonmaker. “The performances here have been extremely rewarding on a professional and a personal level. The culture of Nigeria is very friendly and welcoming. We feel like we are among friends. We would be delighted to continue building on the relationships established.”
Carson City’s embarked medical team travelled to Western Naval Command, where they were welcomed to the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital Ojo. After receiving a tour of the hospital and observing the operating room, the team divided into three groups for discussions, addressing the fields of public health, family medicine and women’s health.
Meanwhile, the ship’s small boat maintenance teams, comprised of U.S. and Spanish navy sailors, worked with engineers from the Nigerian navy to troubleshoot and provide maintenance on various patrol crafts.
U.S. Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Detachment Pacific collaborated with the Nigerian navy’s special boat service teams to discuss visit, board, search and seizure best practices and tactical casualty combat care. After some classroom exchanges the first day, the groups conducted boarding drills and casualty care scenarios on the second day of engagements.
The visit included an official welcome reception at Western Naval Command in Lagos, where “Topside” electrified the crowds with a cover performance of “Water No Get Enemy” by famed Nigerian legend, Fela Kuti.
Carson City is currently deployed to the Gulf of Guinea to demonstrate progress through partnerships and U.S. commitment to West African countries through small boat maintenance assistance, maritime law enforcement engagement, and medical and community relations outreach.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.