The guided-missile frigate USS Simpson (FFG 56) and senior staff members from U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa concluded a three-day port visit of training, band engagements, and senior staff talks in Casablanca, February 2, 2012.
During the visit, Simpson conducted visit, board, search and seizure training with Royal Moroccan Navy personnel and received a tour of the Royal Moroccan Navy vessel Tarek Ben Zayid. Staff members from U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa met with senior leaders from the Royal Moroccan Navy to strengthen maritime partnerships, while members from U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band conducted two community service projects at a girls’ orphanage and boys’ center in the city.
Rear Admiral Kenneth « K.J. » Norton, deputy chief of staff for strategy, resources, and plans at U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, along with his staff and the crew of Simpson, hosted the U.S. ambassador to Morocco, Samuel Kaplan, his wife and his staff, and top commanders from the Royal Moroccan Navy and Army, honoring the relationship between Morocco and their U.S. partners.
Moroccan Colonel Mohammed Amharouch of the Royal Moroccan Army said he was happy to have the Simpson’s crew visit his country’s world famous city.
« It’s good to form bridges between our two nations, » said Amharouch. « More visits, like the Simpson’s, will help our navies and countries move together into the future with vision. »
Commander Leonard Milliken, Simpson’s commanding officer, commented on the events and training the two countries completed during their time in Casablanca.
« Today was a great day, » said Milliken. « We had tours where we provided training aboard to members of the Royal Moroccan Navy and some of our sailors visited and boarded a Moroccan vessel as well. Our visit to Morocco has been a success. »
Norton also spoke to the guests by offering praise to the Simpson’s crew and stressing the importance of partnership between the U.S. and countries like Morocco.
« I’d like to conclude [the evening] with this thought: maritime security allows for economic opportunity, » said Norton. « And economic opportunity allows for prosperity, and I think that’s in all our best interest. »
Simpson, homeported out of Mayport, Florida, is currently conducting theater security cooperation and maritime security operations in the Naval Forces Africa area of responsibility.
By Petty Officer 2nd Class Felicito Rustique
U.S. Naval Forces Africa