MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Representatives from 11 countries participated in the opening ceremony of UNITAS Gold April 20.
Mayport hosted maritime forces from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Germany, Mexico, Peru, the United States and Uruguay for the 50th iteration of the annual multinational maritime exercise, which will take place off the coast of Florida April 20-May 5.
UNITAS is the longest running multilateral maritime exercise. The exercise's goal is to work together with partner nation maritime units and personnel during several land and sea based scenarios. This year's exercise is hosted by the United States and executed by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO) and U.S. 4th Fleet.
"Through the years, UNITAS has evolved to fit the landscape, needs, and mutual naval and maritime interests of the Americas and Caribbean," said Rear Adm. Joseph Kernan, NAVSO and U.S. 4th Fleet commander. "As we move forward together, I am confident that future opportunities to work with our partners will not only strengthen our ability to operate together and provide for our nations security but will also build personal and professional respect and friendships."
During the two-week exercise, the United States, partner nations and Latin American countries will train together in a realistic tactical training environment featuring live-fire exercises, undersea warfare, shipboard operations, maritime interdiction operations, air defense and surface warfare, amphibious operations, electronic warfare, and special warfare. In all, more than 30 ships, two submarines and 50 aircraft will participate.
The U.S. Navy representation consists of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), guided- missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), USCGC Thetis (WMEC 910) and guided-missile frigates USS Doyle (FFG 39) and USS Kauffman (FFG 59).
U.S. 4th Fleet is the numbered fleet assigned to NAVSO, exercising operational control of assigned forces. Fourth Fleet conducts the full spectrum of Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in support of U.S objectives and security cooperation activities that promote coalition building and deter aggression. U.S. 4th Fleet acts in concert with other U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) components, coalition forces, and Joint Task Forces to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the SOUTHCOM area of focus.
For more information on UNITAS Gold, visit www.southcom.mil/AppsSC/factFiles.php?id=110
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.