USCG Auxiliarist Deployed on Board Navy Ship HSV Swift

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

HSV-2 Swift is a non-commissioned, hybrid catamaran originally leased by the United States Navy as a mine countermeasures and sea based test platform. Today she is primarily used for fleet support and humanitarian partnership missions. Photo courtesy is the US Navy.

My flight arrived at Dakar Léopold Sangor International, after leaving Connecticut in the bitter cold, breathing the warm air of Senegal was very welcomed. Upon my arrival, two sailors were waiting for me with a sign bearing my name in bold.  I immediately started my job as an interpreter for the US Navy via the USCG Auxiliary Interpreter Corps.

The USCG Auxiliary Interpreter Corps is a component of the USCG Auxiliary International Affairs Department. Interpreters are all members of the USCG Auxiliary. They offer their linguistic skills to the US Coast Guard and other agencies of the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense.

Article by Emmanuel Salami, USCG Auxiliary Interpreter Corp, Norwalk, CT

On this mission, I was deployed to the HSV Swift in Senegal; our mission is to train Senegalese Navy sailors on specific mission capability. This deployment is part of the APS program (Africa Partnership Station) conducted by the US Navy 6th Fleet to help improve maritime security preparedness from coastal Africa. My assignment is to cover boarding techniques and suspect vessel inspection better known as VBSS (Visit, Board, Search and Seizure) and with an emphasis on Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) mostly Intelligence to Maritime Interception Operations (MIO) and Maritime Illicit Counter Trafficking (MICT). This training is composed of both theory and practice training sessions to elite teams from the Senegalese Navy. My group more specifically focuses on MDA, MIO and MICT with the last part out to the shooting range to improve marksmanship and combat shooting for good measure.

Two other teams were more specifically focused on VBSS operations

As an interpreter your role is primarily to translate or better interpret what is being taught and ensure the students are on board with you. During the training sessions, I find myself on the center stage. You have to set the pace with the facilitator so you can ultimately provide the appropriate level of interpretation without missing key elements. In short you make the necessary arrangement not to get lost in translation. You have to make sure your group of students understands clearly what’s being taught to them, to the point where they should be able to teach others in return. You have to improvise a lot, find the right tone, keep the student interested and engage them. You become the facilitator to the teacher.

The commander of the Senegalese military detachment told me that they would really appreciate if I could remain their permanent interpreter. I take that as a compliment and an indication that my job is greatly appreciated. Now the bar has been raised and I’ll make sure to keep up with the pace and the expectation.

Two other Auxiliarists joined me on this deployment, Jean-Miguel Bariteau and Patrick Powell and 1 Navy sailor completed the team (LS1 Leonard Bonhomme)

As interpreters we had the opportunity to be involved in the Ambassador’s reception held on board the HSV2 Swift

The deployment concluded to a high note with the graduation ceremony for all students at the Senegalese Navy Base.

The HSV stands for “High Speed Vessel”, and its home port is Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Norfolk, Virginia. The vessel has two crews that typically rotate every three months to keep the ship deployed eleven months per year. The minimum crew size is 35; 18 are military with the balance civilian. On rare occasion that she is in a United States port, it is usually Naval Station Mayport, Florida or Charleston, South Carolina, for major maintenance. Rota, Spain, is considered by the crew to be the “Mediterranean home away from home”.

A special thanks to the crew of HSV-2 Swift and the MPP Team on shore for their commitment, dedication and tireless support who helped made this mission a success.

Particularly: LCDR Charles Eaton USN – OIC Swift; CWO4 Ronald McMiller USN – AOC Swift; LCDR Deborah Lee USN, Team Leader MPP; Chef Daniel Pryor USN, Team Leader MPP

A special thanks to my co-translator Auxiliarist Jean Miguel Bariteau.


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  1. Ric Klinger says:

    Well done Emmanuel! Semper Paratus!

  2. Joe DeFranco 014-07-02 says:

    Congratulations Emmanuel for being selected and for performing such a fine job! You represented very well the Auxiliary, the US military, and our nation.

  3. Ginny and Joe Lovas says:

    WOW – 72 is so proud of you for giving this time to our Country, and to those who we help! Keep up the good work.

  4. Gaspare Marturano says:

    Bravo Zulu, to Emmanuel, Jean Miguel and all those involved!

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