USS PEARL HARBOR, At Sea (NNS) -- Partnership of the Americas (POA) Task Group 40.0 completed the work-up phase of UNITAS 48-07 May 4-7.
Along with partner-nation navies from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Spain, the group has completed numerous exercises in support of realizing the chief of naval operation's vision of a 1,000-ship global maritime force.
Completed exercises include leap-frog maneuvers designed to simulate replenishment at sea operations, division maneuvering tactics where partner-nation ships practice driving in tactical formations with each other, maritime interdiction operations, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, electronic warfare, command and control training, and a variety of air defense exercises designed to test the tactical skills of the crews.
Ships of the task force also conducted flight operations with each others' helicopters to improve interoperability, including a successful takeoff and landing of a Brazilian Navy helicopter and crew member exchanges with the Argentine Navy.
The crew member exchange program is a significant part of the UNITAS program. USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) and USS Mitscher (DDG 57) both exchanged Sailors with ships from Argentina and Brazil, and 18 Argentine service members went underway with USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) and have since learned their way around an American warship.
"We are learning how the American Navy works," said Argentine Marine Infantry Sgt. Perez Ricardo. "It is interesting to see how other navies operate and to get to know some of the crew members. I am surprised at how many people I can communicate with both verbally and nonverbally."
Another highlight of the UNITAS work-ups was an Argentine Navy vessel boarding search and seizure (VBSS) team that conducted training operations aboard Pearl Harbor.
"Although the VBSS team concept is relatively new to the Argentine Navy, they operated with great efficiency and carried themselves with the utmost professionalism," said Electrician's Mate Seaman (SW) Jessy Gappa, a member of Pearl Harbor's VBSS team.
POA 2007 is a U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command deployment designed to support U.S. Southern Command's engagement strategy in its area of responsibility. The focus of the deployment is enhancing relationships with regional partner nations through a variety of exercises and events at sea and on shore throughout South America and the Caribbean.
Task Group 40.0 is deployed to support Partnership of the Americas which includes UNITAS. The Task Group consists of dock landing ship Pearl Harbor, guided-missile destroyer Mitscher, guided-missile frigate Samuel B. Roberts and Chilean frigate CS Almirante Latorre (FFG 14), and is commanded by Capt. Randy Snyder, commander, Destroyer Squadron 40.
For more new from USS Pearl Harbor, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/lsd52/.