US Navy Revives

May 5th, 2008 - by admin

Lamia Oualalou / Le Figaro & Specialist 1st Class Michael E. Miller Jr. / USS Boxer – 2008-05-05 23:05:51

US Navy Deploys Around Latin America
Lamia Oualalou / Le Figaro

Choosing to confront the rise in power of left-leaning governments in its backyard, the United States is recreating the Fourth Fleet.

PARIS (28 April 2008) — It’s now official: The Pentagon is going to resuscitate its Fourth Fleet, with the mission of patrolling Latin American and Caribbean waters. Created during the Second World War to protect traffic in the South Atlantic, the structure was dissolved in 1950. “By reestablishing the Fourth Fleet, we acknowledge the immense importance of maritime security in this region,” declared Adm. Gary Roughead, head of the Pentagon’s naval operations.

Based in Mayport, Florida, the fleet will operate under the double orders of the American Navy and the Army’s Southern Command, responsible for Latin America and the Caribbean. Vice Adm. Joseph Kernan will command the fleet, which should include a nuclear aircraft carrier.

According to Alejandro Sanchez, an analyst at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a research center on Latin America based in Washington, “the reestablishment of the Fourth Fleet is more of a political than a military gesture, designed to confront the rise in power of left-leaning governments in the region.” The Pentagon does not trouble to camouflage its intentions: “the message is clear: whether local governments like it or not, the United States is back after the war in Iraq,” Sanchez explains.

“New Threats”
De facto, Washington’s military influence in the region has diminished considerably since September 11, 2001, and the launch of the “war against terrorism.” Concentrated on the Middle Eastern arc of crisis, the Pentagon did not pay much attention to the political upsets in its own backyard.

Leftist governments, now broadly in the majority in Latin America, reproach the United States with the support it gave the dictatorships that reigned over several decades and to the ultra-neo-liberal policies those dictatorships applied.

While Washington assures that its sole interest in the region is combating “new threats” (terrorism, drug trafficking and the Maras gangs of Central America), Latin American people often see it as the pursuit of “imperialist” interests dictated by energy needs. The tensions between Washington and the radical presidents of the sub-continent’s main oil and gas producers (Venezuela, Equator and Bolivia) accentuate that perception.

As a sign of defiance, almost all Latin American countries have refused to sign the American Serviceman Protection Act, a treaty that prevents legal pursuit of American soldiers for crimes committed abroad.

The plan to install a military base in Paraguay, close to Bolivian gas fields, was denounced by Brazil and Argentina. Ecuador has made it known that the American military base installed in Manta until 2009 will not be allowed to renew its mandate.

Worse still, Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has relaunched the idea of a South American Defense Council, explicitly excluding all United States intervention.

Washington’s sidelining comes at a time when new sources of conflict are arising in the region, as, for example, the one that pits Colombia on one side and Ecuador and Venezuela on the other, or that between Bolivia and Chile over sea access. An arms race is underway in the region, where governments have taken advantage of the economic revival to reequip their armies, neglected since the 1970s.

American arms manufacturers are no longer alone in this market: some European countries, but especially China, Russia and Iran, are trying to get a footing in a region that also attracts them for its natural resource and energy potential.

Translation: Truthout French language editor Leslie Thatcher.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Boxer Deploys to Latin America for Continuing Promise 2008
Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Michael E. Miller Jr. / USS Boxer Public Affairs / NNS

SAN DIEGO (April 29, 2008) — USS Boxer (LHD 4) along with various embarked units and non-governmental organizations (NGO) departed Naval Base San Diego April 28 in route to Latin America nations for the Pacific Phase of Continuing Promise (CP) 2008.

CP is an equal partnership mission designed to combine partner nation and U.S. relief capabilities to demonstrate the lasting bonds and shared interests among neighbors. Specific locations for the ship’s relief operations include Guatemala, El Salvador and Peru. The deployment is scheduled to last through June.

The Humanitarian Civic Assistance (HCA) mission provides partner nations in the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) area of focus a mobile, flexible and rapidly responsive medical and engineering capability for a number of missions and training opportunities in Central and South America. This is Boxer’s first deployment since returning from the Western Pacific in May 2007.

The Pacific Phase of CP is one of two HCA deployments planned for the USSOUTHCOM area of focus for 2008. The second CP deployment will be conducted by USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) in the Caribbean. The deployments are modeled in part on last year’s USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) deployment to the region that delivered substantial medical and dental support to a large number of people in remote locations. Boxer’s deployment is planned with a more robust capability for engineering operations ashore.

“This is what the Navy has always done,” said Boxer’s commanding officer, Capt. Matthew J. McCloskey. “It’s always been about diplomacy and it’s always been about helping people. I think the prospect of being able to go down there and do something focused on helping people just fits Boxer.”

Wasp-class amphibious assault ships like Boxer are designed with a variety of expeditionary mission capabilities, including rapid, projected humanitarian assistance worldwide. It also has the physical capacity to transport large amounts of medical and engineering supplies and equipment to most locations around the globe.

Boxer’s CP deployment has been coordinated through Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5 with partner nations in the region and planned hand-in-hand with a variety of governmental and NGOs to creatively address the level and scope of care that will be needed to support regional medical needs. A key objective of this deployment is to address regional health service support requirements and promote clinical information sharing across the region.

“We are partnering with our neighbors to provide construction capabilities ashore, basic primary health care, dentistry, environmental health care, optometry, biomedical repair, training and even veterinary care,” said Commander of PHIBRON 5, Commodore Peter K. Dallman. “We are also planning to provide a limited number of surgeries on board the ship which is a unique capability that Boxer brings.”

The embarked Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 5, will work with Latin American medical teams and NGOs in treatment, training and infrastructure support across the host countries.

Navy Seabee Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 303 will support Boxer and FST 5’s medical mission by bringing robust construction capabilities, civic action repairs and minor construction projects to nations in the region.

“The variety of training and capabilities Continuing Promise will take into the region clearly demonstrates our nation’s commitment to fostering cooperative partnerships,” said Dallman. “This is a diverse mission that demands a diverse ship and crew. The same flexibility that makes Boxer an effective warship also makes it an extraordinarily effective platform for performing humanitarian assistance missions.”

“America is a country interested in freedom, our own personal freedom and everyone else’s freedom,” added McCloskey. “We’re a country that’s willing to reach out and help with no strings attached. I want to thank these nations for partnering with us.”

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Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.