RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (NNS) -- Over 3,100 Naval Forces from 13 countries kicked off UNITAS LX (60), the 60th anniversary of the annual multinational exercise, in Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 19.
Comprised of both Atlantic and Amphibious phases, UNITAS participants include Naval Forces from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Great Britain, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal and the United States.
This year’s exercise is hosted by the Brazilian Navy and will conduct operations off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, focusing on demonstrating regional maritime cooperation in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) response scenario, as a means to develop a multinational maritime task force.
USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) embarked with approximately 350 Sailors and Marines arrived Aug. 18 to support UNITAS.
During opening ceremonies, Adm. Greg Faller, commander U.S. Southern Command gave the troops a message.
“It’s an honor to be here, seize this opportunity,” said Faller, “Trust is the building block of our ability to work together as a team. When I look at you, when I see the ships, the staffs, I know you are professionals that represent democracies that fight for freedom. Let’s have a successful exercise and be well.”
UNITAS is designed to train Navy and Marine Corps to conduct joint operations and increase interoperability among partner nations. 14 surface vessels, eight helicopters, five fixed wing aircraft and one submarine are participating.
“This is a professional experience that will make each one of you stronger and better. Take every advantage of the opportunity to learn, to teach and to make new friends. This is how we are going to fight, as like-minded democracies, and as friends,” said Faller.
UNITAS, which is Latin for “unity” was conceived in 1959, first executed in 1960, and has been held every year since. UNITAS develops and sustains relationships that improve the capacity of our partners maritime forces to achieve common goals. This annual exercise fosters friendly, mutual cooperation and understanding between participating navies and Marine Corps.