Saturday, August 9, 2008

Miami Kick Off

Day three of Kearsarge’s deployment to the SOUTHCOM AOF and the first Distinguished Visitor Event was held right off the coast off Miami. As the mighty ship stoically sailed past the city known for it’s night life, a number of dignitaries and even TV personalities stepped foot on some of the U.S. Navy’s and Marine Corps' finest aircraft in order to fly out to the ship for what turned out to be a very successful, enlightening, and moving press conference and reception.

Around 2 p.m., the guests arrived aboard the MH-60 and CH-53's. As they arrived, they were greeted in true Kearsarge fashion, sharp looking Sailors smartly standing by to escort our visitors and render the appropriate honors. As each group arrived, they were accompanied to the Flag Mess where the press conference was to be held.

Each media outlet took position awaiting the arrival of myself, CAPT Towns and our distinguished visitors ADM J. Garcia, Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services and RADM R. Parker, Security and Intelligence Directorate SOUTHCOM, the numbers of questions were few, but probing and direct. A seemingly direct reflection of how eager they are to know more about the purpose and details of the mission. The guests numbered about 58, with guests, Distinguished Visitors (DV) and several local, national and international media outlets.

Our DVs included the Honorable Ramcan Roshanali, Consul General Guyana; Mr. Luiz Orozoco, Vice Consul General Colombia, ADM J. Garcia and RADM R. Parker. Among the media outlets were Univision and its famous TV host, Don Francisco, who I am told carries a worldwide Spanish speaking audience of approx. 80 million viewers, as well as Dominican Republic and Nicaraguan press. Although the media got its facts and figures primarily from senior officers, the true story, as always, can be found with the junior Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. Theirs are the voices of sincerity, optimism and occasionally sarcasm…guess that’s why they are so embraced…their honesty, candor and diverse points of view are refreshing.

Commitment and promise was the theme of the evening, and undeniably felt in the aura of the conference and was most sincerely expressed in the final comments of one reporter of Latin American descent. He said, “Each of you is someone’s brother or sister, someone’s son or daughter, someone’s husband or wife, or someone’s father or mother and you are here carrying out an operation whose sole purpose is to help those less fortunate, to help our people, thank you”. Those words were most genuinely spoken and heart felt, leaving a lasting impression that inspired an even greater desire to do the best we possibly can to attain each and every goal set for this deployment.

Upon completion of the conference, guests retired to the wardroom where the ship’s Supply department awaited with an elegant spread of hors d’oeurves and beverages. The crowd mingled and friendships were kindled. After opening and welcoming remarks, and a brief presentation of the mission, I presented a toast …“To the Partnership Of The Americas, may our ties grow stronger with each and every passing day and for generations to come!"

By all accounts, the entire afternoon was a success and surely an indication of the months to follow.


SarahC said...

Good Morning!
Thank you so much for doing this blog! My husband is one of the Marine pilots on the Kearsarge and it's great to be able to see where you guys are and what you're doing through this website. So, thank you!! I know spouses will really enjoy reading it! Take care and best of luck to Continuing Promise!
Sarah C.

Cecilia said...

Greetings from Guam! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day and mission to put together this blog. My husband is a nurse presently serving on the Kearsarge. This is a great way to reach out to the families of the soldiers serving in this wonderful humanitarian mission. You will be in our thoughts and prayers during the next months.
Respectfully yours,
Cecilia B.

April said...

I also wanted to thank you for putting out this blog. My husband is also a nurse on the Kearsarge and it is nice to be able to find out the bigger picture of this mission and all it entails.
Thank you,
April F.