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NASSAU, The Bahamas – The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) departed Nassau, The Bahamas, July 1, 2023, following a three-day port visit.
Wasp visited Nassau to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bahamian independence for the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and 50 years of bilateral partnership alongside the nation.
“Both the U.S. and The Bahamas benefit greatly by working together and developing relationships between our two nations,” said Capt. Christopher Purcell, executive officer aboard Wasp. “This visit helped strengthen the already strong foundation in our trusted partnership, and it was an honor to be here.”
The three-day visit concluded with a 50th Anniversary of Bahamian Independence Ceremony and reception organized by the U.S. embassy of Nassau and hosted on Wasp’s flight deck, June 30.
Lt. Cmdr. Trey Adderly, combat systems officer aboard Wasp, who has family lineage from the Bahamas, helped coordinate the reception as a liaison between Wasp and the embassy.
“I felt a huge sense of accomplishment in what the Wasp and the United States provided for further diplomatic relations to the Bahamas,” Adderly said.
Wasp Commanding Officer Capt. Nakia Cooper, Lt. Gen. A.C. Roper, the honorable Philip E. Davis, the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Charge d’ Affaires Usha E. Pitts, and Governor General His Excellency Sir Cornelius A. Smith gave remarks during the ceremony.
The reception following the ceremony featured live music from the Road Island National Guard 88 Band and the Royal Bahamian Defence Force Band, a flyover by two A-10C Thunderbolt II assigned to Air Force unit 23rd Fighter Group, and a fireworks display.
“The reception we had on the flight deck was probably the most impressive one I’ve ever seen in my time in the Navy,” said Purcell. “It was well received by the Bahamians; it was well received by the embassy.”
While in Nassau, Wasp Sailors participated in a community outreach event at the Willie Mae Pratt Centre for Girls and the Simpson Penn Centre for Boys. The Sailors provided mentorship to the boys and girls, participated in activities, and helped around the facilities.
“Events like this allow us to get in with the communities,” said Chief Religious Programs Specialist Joseph Jedding. “Hearts and minds are the biggest thing that we are concerned about. We care enough that we want to put effort into a relationship with [the Bahamians] and that’s what strengthens our bond.”
During the port visit, some of Wasp’s senior enlisted leadership visited the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Coral Harbour Base to discuss leadership development with RBDF senior enlisted leaders.
Wasp’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation division coordinated several tours and activities for the crew to participate in during the port visit, to include snorkeling, water park excursions, deep sea fishing, and more.
Quartermaster 3rd Class Donte Jones was able to go deep sea fishing.
“I almost caught a barracuda but it got away,” Jones said. “But we were able to catch some red fish while out.”
Wasp was in Nassau, The Bahamas for a scheduled port visit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of independence and the opportunity to strengthen the 50-year bilateral partnership with the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, an important relationship with a key regional partner.