Comprised of both Atlantic and Amphibious phases, UNITAS exercise includes participants from Naval Forces from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Great Britain, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, and the United States.
This year's exercise is hosted by the Brazilian Navy and will conduct operations off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, focusing on demonstrating regional maritime cooperation in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) response scenario, as a means to develop a multinational maritime task force.
USS Carter Hall (LSD-50), embarked with approximately 350 sailors and marines, arrived August 18 to support UNITAS.
During opening ceremonies U.S. Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, gave the troops a message.
"It's an honor to be here, seize this opportunity," said Adm. Faller, "Trust is the building block of our ability to work together as a team. When I look at you, when I see the ships, the staffs, I know you are professionals that represent democracies that fight for freedom."
UNITAS is designed to train navy and marine corps to conduct joint operations and increase interoperability among partner nations. Fourteen surface vessels, eight helicopters, five fixed wing aircraft, and one submarine are participating.
"This is a professional experience that will make each one of you stronger and better. Take every advantage of the opportunity to learn, to teach, and to make new friends. This is how we are going to fight, as like-minded democracies, and as friends," said Adm. Faller.
UNITAS, which is Latin for "unity" was conceived in 1959, first executed in 1960, and has been held every year since. UNITAS develops and sustains relationships that improve the capacity of our partners’ maritime forces to achieve common goals. This annual exercise fosters friendly, mutual cooperation, and understanding between participating navy and marine corps.