VALPARAISO, Chile (NNS) -- Since arriving in Chile, more than 1,700 personnel from 13 nations have collaborated and participated in UNITAS, the world’s longest running multinational maritime exercise, from June 24 – July 3.
Chile served as the host nation, and was joined by naval forces from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Germany, Honduras, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States for the Pacific phase of UNITAS LX (60).
“I was asked what is different about UNITAS this year,” said Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, Rear Adm. Donald Gabrielson. “To which I replied, the people are different, presenting them with the same problems, giving them the experience, allowing us to respond quickly to a crisis as a team.”
This year’s exercise covered a variety of naval warfare missions, as crews from 10 warships and eight aircraft shared their expertise during scenario-driven maritime operations. They executed littoral warfare, anti-piracy, maritime interception, counter transnational organized crime, anti-surface warfare, electronic warfare, communications, air, and amphibious operations that increased interoperability and capability between participating forces.
UNITAS LX involved a wide variety of challenging scenarios to train and develop all personnel involved, helping to increase responses in real-world crises that require multinational response efforts.
“Military operations move at the speed of trust,” said Deputy Commodore, Destroyer Squadron 40, Capt. Thomas Myers. “This is why building relationships is important, and this is why UNITAS will continue to be so important, now and into the future.”
For 60 years, the United States has built upon commonalities and increased capabilities within the Western Hemisphere through exercise UNITAS. Different countries host the exercise each year, facilitating the opportunity to gain experience leading a multinational force through complex maritime warfare scenarios and exercises.
UNITAS, which is Latin for “unity,” was conceived in 1959, first executed in 1960 and has been held every year since. This year marks the 60th iteration of UNITAS. The exercise continues to develop and sustain relationships that improve the capacity of our emerging and enduring partners’ maritime forces to achieve common desired effects and fosters friendly, cooperation and understanding between participating navies.
The Western Hemisphere is the shared home of the U.S. and our partner nations. Exercises like UNITAS reinforce our permanent geographical and cultural ties, connecting us to our shared history and our shared future.
In a display of enduring commitment to the region, U.S. 4th Fleet is leading the USNS Comfort deployment medical mission and the dual-phased exercise UNITAS LX, Pacific and Atlantic. The Atlantic phase will occur this August and will be hosted by Brazil.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet is responsible for U.S. Naval forces in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility, including the Caribbean, Central and South America.