U.S., Chile Strengthen Partnership

Story Number: NNS151029-07Release Date: 10/29/2015 10:55:00 AM
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By By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kiana A. Raines, USS George Washington Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), Carrier Strike Group (CSG) NINE, and embarked Carrier Air Wing TWO hosted several Chilean officers, Oct. 13-24, as part of UNITAS Pacific (PAC).

Working alongside U.S. Sailors while aboard Washington, guest officers participated in several exercises, such as Blue Sky V, an exercise designed to improve relations through cooperative airborne tactical engagements.

"Our job here is to be the link between the carrier and our task forces," said Lt. Alejandro Ramos, a Chilean naval officer. "We maintain communications with our commands by sharing the knowledge we gain here."

The experience of UNITAS PAC brings forth knowledge that can be applied to each nation's respective militaries.

"Something we are taking away from this experience is how to run a large force," said Lt. j.g. Cristian Figari, another Chilean naval officer. "There are so many people aboard, and it is impressive how smoothly it all works. We've compared their leadership to our own and realized that we have many similarities and that we face the same challenges they do."

Sailors from both nations realized the many correlations and opportunities to learn from each other.

"This was my first time working with the [Chilean officers] and the UNITAS exercise," said Lt. Anne Domko, assigned to CSG-9. "It took some coordination to integrate them into the work we were doing for the exercises but they were a valuable asset. We learned a lot from each other about the way our countries do business. The more we continue to increase interoperability between countries the better."

Just as Domko hopes to continue relations between other countries, the Chilean officers said they look forward to future UNITAS exercises.

"UNITAS has been effective for many years and we hope it continues for many more," added Figari.

UNITAS 2015, the U.S. Navy's longest running annual multinational maritime exercise, is part of the Southern Seas deployment planned by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/ U.S. 4th Fleet. This 56th iteration of UNITAS is conducted in two phases: UNITAS Pacific, hosted by Chile, Oct. 13-24, and UNITAS Atlantic, hosted by Brazil and scheduled for November.

For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.

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