USS PEARL HARBOR, At Sea (NNS) -- UNITAS 48-07 Pacific Phase began in international waters off the coast of South America on June 18 with final coordination meetings held aboard USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52).
UNITAS 48-07 consists of combined and joint exercises to train units of a multinational force to increase interoperability in naval operations and provide opportunities to improve unit readiness.
"This exercise is very important to show partner nations how we all can be a vital component of this exercise and the 1,000-ship maritime force to operate in a joint environment," said Commanding Officer of Chilean Ship Latorre (FFG 14) Chilean Navy Capt. Rodrigo lvarez.
Latorre has been an integral part of the U.S.-led Task Group 40.0 since the beginning of the Partnership of the Americas (POA) deployment in April and has shown how multinational forces can operate together to achieve common goals.
Representatives from Chile, Colombia, Peru and the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard arrived on Pearl Harbor by rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) and helicopter to discuss final exercise plans. The final planning and coordination at sea underscored the exercise's flexibility.
For nine days Pearl Harbor, USS Mitscher (DDG 57), USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913), Chilean ships Araucano (AO-53) and Almirante Latorre (FFG 14), Peruvian frigate Palacios (FM-56), Peruvian submarine Arica (SS-36), and Colombian frigate Independiente (FM-54) will complete a series of exercises and evolutions at sea.
"As Coast Guardsmen, we are ecstatic to be a part of this exercise," said Mohawk Commanding Officer Cmdr. John Davis. "It is just as important for us to receive this training and experience as it is for any other navy or coast guard in the region. We are going to be able to learn a lot from each other."
Some exercises highlighted during UNITAS will be tactical ship maneuvering, live fire of various weapons systems, crew exchanges, maritime interdiction operations with ship boardings, replenishment at sea and search and rescue events.
Events will culminate in a final battle problem, where a multinational group of ships will enforce simulated U.N. Security Council Resolutions in a scenario environment to test interoperability and unit reactions and to exercise command and control.
The commander of Destroyer Squadron 40 and Task Group 40.0, Capt. Randy Snyder, wrapped up the conference by thanking the partner nation representatives for their significant contributions.
"We came together today at sea and finalized a robust series of exercises. It is now time to demonstrate the interoperability, seamanship and safety we have all worked hard to plan," said Snyder.
Task Group 40.0 is conducting UNITAS 48-07 Pacific Phase in support of POA 2007, which focuses on enhancing relationships with regional partner nations through a variety of exercises and events at sea and ashore throughout South America and the Caribbean.
For more news from Destroyer Squadron 40, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/desron40/.