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Africa Partnership Station Celebrates Women's History Month
USS Nashville (LPD 13) sailors, along with a staff of Destroyer Squadron 60 and international maritime professionals, gathered March 14, 2009 to celebrate Women&#39;s History Month with a ceremony held on the ship&#39;s mess decks. <br /> <br />The
LAGOS, Nigeria - Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville commander Captain Cindy Thebaud speaks after completing the Race for Cure in Lagos, Nigeria, March 20, 2009. Forty-one Sailors from APS Nashville participated in the run during USS Nashville&#39;s (LPD 13) port visit to Lagos in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS). The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is a series of races and fitness walks to raise funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer. This event is being highlighted in recognition of Women&#39;s History Month in March. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Bookwalter)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 2: LAGOS, Nigeria - Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville commander Captain Cindy Thebaud speaks after completing the Race for Cure in Lagos, Nigeria, March 20, 2009. Forty-one Sailors from APS Nashville participated in the run during USS Nashville's (LPD 13) port visit to Lagos in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS). The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is a series of races and fitness walks to raise funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer. This event is being highlighted in recognition of Women's History Month in March. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Bookwalter) Download full-resolution version
LAGOS, Nigeria - Chief Warrant Officer Eve McAnallen crosses the finish line for the Race for Cure in Lagos, Nigeria, March 20, 2009. Forty-one sailors from Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville participated in the run during USS Nashville&#39;s (LPD 13) port visit to Lagos in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS). The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is a series of races and fitness walks to raise funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer. This event is being highlighted in recognition of Women&#39;s History Month in March. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Bookwalter)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 2: LAGOS, Nigeria - Chief Warrant Officer Eve McAnallen crosses the finish line for the Race for Cure in Lagos, Nigeria, March 20, 2009. Forty-one sailors from Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville participated in the run during USS Nashville's (LPD 13) port visit to Lagos in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS). The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is a series of races and fitness walks to raise funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer. This event is being highlighted in recognition of Women's History Month in March. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Bookwalter) Download full-resolution version
LAGOS, Nigeria - Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville commander Captain Cindy Thebaud speaks after completing the Race for Cure in Lagos, Nigeria, March 20, 2009. Forty-one Sailors from APS Nashville participated in the run during USS Nashville&#39;s (LPD 13) port visit to Lagos in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS). The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is a series of races and fitness walks to raise funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer. This event is being highlighted in recognition of Women&#39;s History Month in March. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Bookwalter)
LAGOS, Nigeria - Chief Warrant Officer Eve McAnallen crosses the finish line for the Race for Cure in Lagos, Nigeria, March 20, 2009. Forty-one sailors from Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville participated in the run during USS Nashville&#39;s (LPD 13) port visit to Lagos in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS). The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is a series of races and fitness walks to raise funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer. This event is being highlighted in recognition of Women&#39;s History Month in March. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Bookwalter)
USS Nashville (LPD 13) sailors, along with a staff of Destroyer Squadron 60 and international maritime professionals, gathered March 14, 2009 to celebrate Women's History Month with a ceremony held on the ship's mess decks.

The ceremony kicked off as the ship steamed toward Lagos, Nigeria, for its third African port visit of the 2009 Africa Partnership Station (APS) mission.

The event featured speeches focused on the importance and impact women have had in American and military life, including a keynote address by APS Commander Captain Cindy Thebaud.

In her comments, Thebaud recognized both the influential women in our history and the people who gave them their chance to succeed.

"This month is not just a celebration of women and their wide-reaching accomplishments, as high-impact as they are," Thebaud said. "It is also a recognition of the people in our country who were willing to take risks and place their trust, confidence and faith in those who would not normally have had certain opportunities and then challenged every Sailor and leader onboard to serve as a mentor for others who may not have equal opportunities."

The event kicked off with the reading of a slightly-modified version of the poem, "Invisible Soldier," before becoming a history lesson of sorts, as APS Nashville Sailors reviewed biographies with the assembled crew to highlight the achievements of former U.S. Congresswoman Margaret Chase Smith and former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

Nashville Operations Officer Lieutenant Commander Teresa Fraser followed with a speech highlighting the many female firsts in the Navy's history -- one of which was very personal for her. Fraser was the first African-American female graduate of the Naval Nuclear Power School in 1998.

"Our influence can be seen all over the place," she said. "If you go to the moon, we've been there… That is why we salute women today. We salute the women in the Navy, both military and civilian. We are a force to be reckoned with."

Before Thebaud's closing comments, Nashville officers Lieutenant junior grade Casey Matthews and Ensigns Shola Whitworth and Courtney Freeman quizzed the audience with women's history trivia questions taken from the ship's plan of the day. Small prizes were awarded for correct answers.

Thebaud's speech also included a show of gratitude to women who play the dual role of family members and Navy Sailors.

"Most importantly, many of these women we recognize tonight perform their duties not only in a career field, but also as a mother, wife and daughter," Thebaud said. "For many women, that is a full time job in and of itself."

At the end of the event, Thebaud, Freeman and Master-at-Arms Seaman Kaitlin Nolan joined to cut a ceremonial cake for the crew.

APS is an international initiative under the auspices of U.S. Naval Forces Africa which aims to work cooperatively with U. S., European and African partners to enhance maritime safety and security on the African continent. APS provides a unique venue to align maritime engagements by utilizing an international team of expert trainers in a variety of military capacities and civilian fields such as fisheries management, port security and meteorology.

APS Nashville is preparing for its March 17 arrival in Lagos, Nigeria, for what will be the third African port of its five-month deployment.
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