USS Underwood Starts Southern Seas 2012
The Mayport-based Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36) began Southern Seas 2012, May 2.
Southern Seas is an annual collaborative deployment in the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) area of responsibility where a task group deploys to conduct a variety of exercises and multinational exchanges.
During Southern Seas, U.S. and South American forces will participate in three major exercises including UNITAS Pacific (PAC), UNITAS Atlantic (LANT) and Silent Forces Exercise (SIFOREX). Underwood will be working with a vast array of other navies during these three exercises.
The ship recently completed Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMTUEX) off the eastern coast of the United States in preparation for its scheduled six-month deployment.
“I look forward to this deployment for a number of reasons,” said Cmdr. Peter T. Mirisola, USS Underwood commanding officer. “First, our partners bring diverse experiences and skills to the mission. We can learn from them and they from us, and together prepare for future events by understanding each other better.”
The first exercise for Underwood will be UNITAS PAC, hosted by Peru. The exercise, the longest-running international military training exercise in the world, enhances friendly, mutual cooperation and understanding between participating navies by developing interoperability in naval operations among the nations of the region.
“Southern Seas is a great opportunity for navies of the Western Hemisphere to conduct navy-to-navy exercises, build military relationships and enhance multinational force interoperability. It’s designed to emphasize interoperability and cooperation through various training opportunities at sea and ashore,” said Mirisola.
This will be the final deployment of USS Underwood, and the ship will be decommissioned in March 2013. Underwood was commissioned Jan. 29, 1983, and embarked on her maiden deployment in 1985. The ship has been involved in numerous counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean in her 29 years of service to the fleet. Underwood also deployed to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake in support of Operation Unified Response.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) support USSOUTHCOM 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.
Naval Today Staff , May 04, 2012; Image: navy