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Eleven Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville embarked trainees capped off three weeks of instruction aboard USS Nashville (LPD 13) with a graduation ceremony March 20, 2009 on the ship&#39;s flight deck. <br /> <br />The group, comprised of
LAGOS, Nigeria - U.S. and Nigerian medical specialists review medical files at Ikeja Military Hospital in Lagos on March 18, 2009. The USS Nashville is currently deployed with Africa Partnership Station (APS), an international initiative developed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Naval Forces Africa which aims to work cooperatively with U. S. and international partners to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Bookwalter)
3 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 3: LAGOS, Nigeria - U.S. and Nigerian medical specialists review medical files at Ikeja Military Hospital in Lagos on March 18, 2009. The USS Nashville is currently deployed with Africa Partnership Station (APS), an international initiative developed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Naval Forces Africa which aims to work cooperatively with U. S. and international partners to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Bookwalter) Download full-resolution version
LAGOS, Nigeria - A Nigerian navy dental officer and a U.S. nurse corps officer with Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville review an X-ray at a dental clinic in Lagos, March 18, 2009. APS is an international initiative developed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa which aims to work cooperatively with U.S. and international partners to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Martine Cuaron)
3 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 3: LAGOS, Nigeria - A Nigerian navy dental officer and a U.S. nurse corps officer with Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville review an X-ray at a dental clinic in Lagos, March 18, 2009. APS is an international initiative developed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa which aims to work cooperatively with U.S. and international partners to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Martine Cuaron) Download full-resolution version
LAGOS, Nigeria - A U.S. Navy nurse corps officer (left) with Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville, assists on a dental exam with a Nigerian navy dental officer at a dental clinic in Lagos, March 18, 2009, APS is an international initiative developed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa which aims to work cooperatively with U.S. and international partners to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Martine Cuaron)
3 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 3 of 3: LAGOS, Nigeria - A U.S. Navy nurse corps officer (left) with Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville, assists on a dental exam with a Nigerian navy dental officer at a dental clinic in Lagos, March 18, 2009, APS is an international initiative developed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa which aims to work cooperatively with U.S. and international partners to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Martine Cuaron) Download full-resolution version
LAGOS, Nigeria - U.S. and Nigerian medical specialists review medical files at Ikeja Military Hospital in Lagos on March 18, 2009. The USS Nashville is currently deployed with Africa Partnership Station (APS), an international initiative developed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Naval Forces Africa which aims to work cooperatively with U. S. and international partners to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Bookwalter)
LAGOS, Nigeria - A Nigerian navy dental officer and a U.S. nurse corps officer with Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville review an X-ray at a dental clinic in Lagos, March 18, 2009. APS is an international initiative developed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa which aims to work cooperatively with U.S. and international partners to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Martine Cuaron)
LAGOS, Nigeria - A U.S. Navy nurse corps officer (left) with Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville, assists on a dental exam with a Nigerian navy dental officer at a dental clinic in Lagos, March 18, 2009, APS is an international initiative developed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa which aims to work cooperatively with U.S. and international partners to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Martine Cuaron)
Eleven Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville embarked trainees capped off three weeks of instruction aboard USS Nashville (LPD 13) with a graduation ceremony March 20, 2009 on the ship's flight deck.

The group, comprised of sailors from the Nigerian navy and Sierra Leone maritime wing, was the second embarked trainee class to graduate since the program began during APS Nashville's first African port visit in Dakar, Senegal February 3.

"The pride that the APS staff and I feel in participating in this graduation can't be adequately expressed. We have learned as much from our embarked trainees as we have hopefully imparted," said Africa Partnership Station Nashville Commander Captain Cindy Thebaud. "This program is truly a cornerstone of the APS mission and we are confident that the relationships we have built will pay dividends in years to come."

During their time aboard the Norfolk-based amphibious transport dock ship, the trainees spent time in a classroom environment and in several hands-on applications learning different aspects of seamanship, damage control and leadership skills.

The working relationships built during the time aboard are an integral part to building partnerships and enhancing maritime strategy in west and central Africa said Lieutenant Will Phillips, the APS Nashville embarked trainee coordinator.

"I think it's a really good way to build relationships at the fundamental level," said Phillips. "Normally, we see high-ranking officials or defense attaches building relationships at the strategic or operational level. Now you see one-on-one interaction between junior officers and enlisted as well."

In total, APS Nashville will hold five embarked trainee classes by the time it wraps up operations in May. The next class has already begun and will continue until Nashville's upcoming port visit to Limbe, Cameroon, in early April.

Nashville will depart from its current port of Lagos, Nigeria, on March 27, following 11 days of APS-specific training.
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