Guided-Missile Frigates Depart Chile to Begin UNITAS PAC


Guided-missile frigates USS Boone (FFG 28) and USS Thach (FFG 43) departed Valparaiso, Chile, along with navy ships from four countries to begin exercises of the Pacific Phase (PAC) of UNITAS 52, June 29.

The Chilean-hosted, two-week multinational exercise began with the arrival of ships from the navies of Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru in Valparaiso June 24.

While at sea, the partner countries will train together with 13 ships and 11 aircraft in real-time, scenario-based events, which include theater security operations, anti-terrorism and anti-narcotic operations, and surface defense warfare exercises. Events include maritime interdiction operations (MIO), visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) exercises and live-fire exercises with aerial drones.

“I look forward to working together these next few days towards the common goal of strengthening our partnerships with Chile, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru, in order to establish and enhance regional hemispheric stability,” said Cmdr. Roy Love, Boone commanding officer.

While in Valparaiso, the ships’ crews participated in opening ceremonies, planning conferences and a wreath-laying ceremony honoring Chilean naval hero Arturo Pratt.

The partner nation sailors participated in a community relations (COMREL) project at the Escuela Juan De Saavedra. The sailors repainted hallways, played soccer with neighborhood kids and participated in traditional dances with a local women’s dance group. The U.S. contingent also traveled to the National Stadium of Santiago to participate in baseball games with local club teams.

“Traditionally, UNITAS has always supported the community with civil events such as this,” said Chilean Navy Lt. Cmdr. Richard Bergquist, UNITAS COMREL coordinator. “We want the community to know that we are here to do more than military exercises. We are here to support the communities and build relationships amongst the navies at the same time.”

UNITAS PAC allows Sailors the opportunity to work and train side-by-side with sailors of the Latin American navies. The relationships that develop from this exercise will help foster cooperation and understanding between participating countries.

“UNITAS is a great opportunity to build confidence between nations,” said Chilean Navy Adm. Francisco Garcia-Huidobro Campos. “It is a great opportunity to work together to develop procedures and fluency. It is important to know that the other ships on the water will be there beside you, supporting you.”

The U.S. Navy is operating with the Chilean Navy over a six-week period to include UNITAS PAC and is part of the Southern Seas 2011 deployment. Southern Seas is an annual six-month deployment focused on building relationships with the navies of the Americas to strengthen regional maritime security.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports U.S. Southern Command joint 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.
Source: navy, July 1, 2011;