WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy announced the USS Fort McHenry will begin a seven-month deployment to the Gulf of Guinea as part of the new U.S. Africa Command.
Officials say the amphibious dock landing ship will begin the deployment Wednesday from Little Creek, Va., where it will then head to Spain to take on passengers from several European partners before heading to the Gulf of Guinea, according to the American Forces Press Service.
Army Gen. William E. Ward, chief of AFRICOM, says the USS Fort McHenry will serve as a platform for the Africa Partnership Station Initiative in an effort to promote maritime security in Western Africa.
While in Spain, the USS Fort McHenry will pick up partners from Spanish, U.K., Portuguese and German government agencies and non-governmental organizations.
AFRICOM began initial operations Oct. 1, which effectively combined efforts from U.S. Central Command, U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. European Command into a new command.
“As we work over the course of the coming weeks and months to stand up the command, we are focused on building the team that will cause value added to be brought to the various programs we do on the continent,” Ward said, in a statement.