LIMA, Peru (NNS) -- Naval forces from four partner nations concluded Silent Forces Exercise (SIFOREX) 2014 in Lima, Peru, Oct. 7.
SIFOREX is a biennial Naval exercise that focuses on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) proficiency. Naval forces from Brazil, Colombia, Peru and the U.S participated in SIFOREX 2014.
SIFOREX 2014 was hosted by the Peruvian navy, and took place in the Southern Pacific beginning September 29. The exercise immediately followed UNITAS, the U.S. Navy's longest running multinational maritime exercise, where 14 partner nations cooperated in a vast array of maritime scenarios.
"My goal for the crew of the Ingraham was for them to do exceptionally well in this exercise, so they could go home with a sense of confidence and pride that they not only did an outstanding job on this seven month deployment, but that they finished strong with UNITAS and SIFOREX, where they exemplified their maritime skills in the company of our partner nations," said Cmdr. Daniel Straub, commanding officer, USS Ingraham (FFG 61). "SIFOREX offered my Sailors the opportunity to sharpen their talents in unique scenarios, which are experiences they will be able to take to their future commands."
This year's U.S. participants included USS Ingraham (FFG 61), P-8 Poseidon from VP-45 and P-3 Orion from VP-26, and Commander Destroyer Squadron 40 (COMDESRON40) staff.
"SIFOREX has been a great opportunity for the Sailors to operate with a live submarine," said Senior Chief Sonar Technician-Surface Paul Dammon, of the USS Ingraham (FFG 61). "The fact that it is a diesel submarine provides an added challenge; it is not every day that my Sailors have the chance to search for and track live sub-surface contacts, especially alongside our partner nations. It has been a great opportunity to strengthen interoperability with partner nation navies."
For most of the sonar technicians on board, this was the first time they had ever worked with foreign submarines. In SIFOREX 2014, Peru engaged with three proficient diesel submarines.
"This is the first time I have had the opportunity to oversee the training of my guys as well as receive training in a new, more leadership intensive role," said Sonar Technician-Surface 1st Class Michael Moore, from the USS Ingraham (FFG 61). "This is the first time my Sailors have seen a scenario like this. I have experienced exercises like this from a sonar watch stander's perspective, but now have a well rounded understanding after taking on a more intensive leadership role."
Moore had the opportunity to work with the Japanese navy as a seaman, and now with the Peruvian navy as a Petty Officer 1st Class. He will continue developing his talents when he joins the USS Higgins (DDG 76) following USS Ingraham's decommissioning.
He also explained, "The communication barrier was tough at first, but to say it drastically improved by the end would be an understatement. After a lot of practice, we were able to work effectively with our partner navies ships to track submarines."
The ships relied on standard tactical signals to communicate with each other, as well as maritime patrol reconnaissance aircraft and helicopters to locate and track subsurface contacts.
"My favorite part of the exercise was getting to utilize active sonar and develop my skills in distinguishing between surface and subsurface contacts," said Sonar Technician-Surface 2nd Class Jeremy West. "We train a lot prior to deploying, but rarely get to play in a scenario as real as this one."
One new aspect to SIFOREX 2014 was the Ingraham hosted anti-submarine watch standers from other U.S. Navy commands in order to provide more sailors with such a unique experience. Lt j.g. Willie Ramirez, the Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer from the USS Hue City (CG 66) was among the Naval forces from four partner nations concluded SIFOREX 2014 in Lima, Peru, on Oct. 7.
"The training with other nations has been extremely valuable," said Ramirez. "We have been alternating control between the partner nations and rehearsing tactics together. The language barrier has been a challenge, but it has been a great experience to learn how to work together in an anti-submarine scenario. This exercise definitely increased our ability to work together in real life as a team."
SIFOREX has been recurring since 2001. The next SIFOREX is planned for 2016.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) employs maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to enhance interoperability, build enduring partnerships that foster regional security, and maintain access in the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility (AOR).
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.