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Invitation to telephonic press briefing with U.S. Navy Captain Heidi Agle, Exercise Director for Obangame/Saharan Express 2016, and senior representatives from West African nations (March 16, 12:30 pm GMT)

By Africa Regional Media Hub

EVENT:

Please join us on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, at 1230 GMT for a telephonic press conference with U.S. Navy Captain Heidi Agle, Commodore of U.S. Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa and Exercise Director for Obangame/Saharan Express 2016, and senior representatives from West African nations. The speakers will discuss the Obangame/Saharan Express 2016 Exercise.

BACKGROUND:

Exercise Obangame/Saharan Express is a multinational maritime exercise, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command and facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet that brings together African, European, South American, and U.S. forces – part of a Global Network of Navies – to enhance cooperation and expertise in maritime security operations. The purpose of the exercise is to test multinational maritime forces in a broad range of naval operations in order to increase capability and capacity, as a collective whole, for Gulf of Guinea nations to deter piracy, illicit trafficking, and other maritime threats. The exercise will take place throughout the Gulf of Guinea, and will have land-based Maritime Operations Centers throughout the region.

In the past, Obangame Express and Saharan Express were separate exercises that took place in different areas of West Africa. This year they have been combined to increase capacity building for more partners across West Africa. There are 27 participating nations in Obangame/Saharan Express 2016: Angola, Benin, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Togo, Turkey, United States, and the United Kingdom, as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

DETAILS:

Speakers: U.S. Navy Captain Heidi Agle, Commodore of U.S. Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa, as well as senior representatives from West African nations

Date: March 16, 2016 Time: 12:30 GMT

* Please use Time Zone Converter to determine the start time of the event in your time zone.

Language: English. French and Portuguese interpretation will be offered.

Ground rules: On the record

Dial-in Info: To be provided once you RSVP

RSVP: RSVP to [email protected] Please indicate if you will dial in (specify

English/French/Portuguese line), or request that we dial out to you (provide the phone number and language to be used).

Twitter: We will use the hashtags #OESE #maritimesecurity #USNS #Spearhead and

#ObangameExpress2016 for the call. Follow us on @AfricaMediaHub.

LOGISTICS:

Callers should dial-in to the conference call 10-15 minutes early. When an individual journalist dials-in, the operator will collect the caller's name, press affiliation, and location. When an embassy dials in, the operator will ask the embassy's name and location. The moderator will facilitate the Q and A among the connected callers. Journalists on the conference call will be instructed to press the “*” and “1” buttons on their phones in order to enter the question queue. NOTE: You can press “*1” at any time during the call to join the question queue, even before the moderator begins the Q and A portion. We ask that journalists limit themselves to one question and indicate to which speaker the question is directed. Journalists can also submit questions in English to [email protected] prior to or during the call.

BIO:

Captain Heidi Agle, Commodore, Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa

Navy Capt. Heidi Agle most recently served as commodore, Amphibious Squadron Eleven, embarked aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).

A native of Moose Creek, Alaska, Agle enlisted in the U.S. Navy in May 1983. In July 1985, she entered the U.S. Naval Academy as a Second Class Fire Control Technician (FC2). Upon graduation with a Bachelor of Science degree in English from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1989, Agle commissioned as an Ensign surface warfare officer. Agle earned a master's of business administration degree with an emphasis in Human Resource Management from the National University in San Diego, Calif., and a master's of science degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College at the National Defense University.

Agle's sea tours include deck officer and a boilers officer aboard USS White Plains (AFS 4); first lieutenant aboard USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41); operations officer for commander, Amphibious Squadron Two (CPR2 N3), which included deployments aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and USS Nassau (LHA 4); executive officer aboard USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52); commanding officer aboard USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), which included a seven-month, independent, anti-piracy deployment; chief-of-staff for Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, which included embarking both USS Essex (LHD 2) and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) for multiple exercises and operations; and deputy commodore, Amphibious Squadron Eleven, embarked aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Agle's sea tours included deployments in support of operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Noble Anvil, Joint Guardian, Allied Force, Avid Response, Shining Hope, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Tomodachi and Damayan.

Agle's shore tours include schedules officer, Commander Logistics Group One; administrative assistant, U.S. Navy Chief of Legislative Affairs; human resources officer, Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific; functional capabilities board working group chair, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; and military faculty at Command and Staff College, U.S. Marine Corps University.

Personal awards include a Legion of Merit Award, the Bronze Star and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.