US Navy, Coast Guard Ships Arrive in Rio De Janeiro


U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships arrived in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, after completing the first half of the Atlantic (LANT) phase of UNITAS 52 with ships from Brazil and Mexico, April 26.

Guided-missile destroyer Nitze (DDG 94), guided-missile frigates USS Thach (FFG 43), and USS BOONE (FFG 28), and USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907) sailed to Brazil to participate in UNITAS LANT.

The U.S. ships were at sea for seven days conducting joint exercises with navies from Brazil and Mexico. The naval group completed the first half of the three-week exercise, running from April 15 to May 9.

The first set of exercises was designed to allow the participating navies to conduct basic to intermediate level training in the classic warfare areas of anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface, as well as, underway replenishment and maritime interdiction operations,” said Capt. Marc Weeks, Task Group 138.0 commander. “This week has allowed us to develop two very important aspects; communication and interoperability, which build the trust and understanding necessary to operate together.”

The six-day stop in Rio de Janeiro marked the mid-way point of the exercise.

“The in-port phase of the exercise allows for Argentina, Chile and Peru, the other participants of UNITAS, to join us for the next part of the exercise,” said Weeks. “It will also allow us to conduct the planning for the advanced phase of the exercise planning.”

During the port visit, the Sailors plan to get some relaxation, visit local sites, and participate in sporting events with the other navies.

“Rio de Janeiro is important because these exercises have been fast-paced,” said Weeks. “The crews get tired fast when you operate at the level we’ve been operating this past week at sea.”

Once the ships depart Rio de Janeiro, they are scheduled for an at-sea exercise scenario phase (ESP) to simulate real-world events and promote international cooperation in a maritime environment. The ESP divides participants into two fictitious nations. Roles are assigned such that a U.N. mandate will impose sanctions upon one group of role players for supporting criminal organizations and weapons smuggling in the territory of another sovereign nation. One team will enforce the sanctions, while the other team attempts to continue their operations.

UNITAS, Latin for “unity,” is a combined South American and U.S.-sponsored annual exercise series. Active participants for UNITAS LANT 52 include Brazil, the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Chile.

COMUSNAVSO/C4F supports U.S. Southern Command and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

By Steve Smith (navy)
Source: navy, April 27, 2011;