Navies From 11 Nations Complete UNITAS Gold 2009 Exercise
By Dialogo May 08, 2009UNITAS Gold, the 50th iteration of the longest running multinational exercise in the world, came to a close following more than two weeks of realistic training scenarios by the United States and partner maritime forces and observers from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Germany, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay. A parade of ships entered Mayport harbor as friends, families, dignitaries and spectators watched sailors dressed in their whites manning the rails of more than a dozen warships representing their respective navies. During the 16-day exercise, more than 25 ships, 4 submarines, 50 aircraft, and 7,000 Sailors and Marines took part in training tailored to address a variety of mission specific areas including live-fire exercises, undersea warfare, shipboard operations, maritime interdiction operations, air defense and surface warfare, amphibious operations, electronic warfare, and special warfare. The ongoing annual exercise is designed to train the participating forces in a variety of maritime scenarios, with each operating as a component of a multinational force, and providing the maximum opportunity to improve interoperability. Capt. Rudy Laco, Commodore, Destroyer Squadron 40, emphasized the importance of UNITAS Gold and other multinational exercises. “All of the navies are learning from the multi-mission exercise. We’re establishing a command and control infrastructure to run scenarios which we may encounter in a real-time environment,” he said. “We have been able to get underway from day one -- sorting 18 ships, establishing a command and control network and accomplishing multiple taskings including a photo exercise and an MIO (Maritime Interdiction Operations) boarding.” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead has emphasized strengthening and cultivating relationships while continuing to operate as a joint and combined force. “The Navy will remain a powerful component of joint warfare by exploiting cutting-edge technology and cooperating closely with the other services, the interagency community, allies and international partners,” Roughead said. Rear Adm. Joseph Kernan, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO) and U.S. Fourth Fleet, is looking forward to future exercises. "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," he said. Capt. Orlando Romero, commanding officer of the Colombian Navy auxiliary ship ARC Cartegena de Indias agreed. “I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in the tactics of our partner navies, as well as the chance to share in their rich customs and cultures,” Romero said. UNITAS 2010 will encompass both an Atlantic and a Pacific phase. The host nation for next year’s Atlantic phase is Argentina and the host nation for the Pacific phase is Colombia.