Southern Seas 2012 was a six-month (May – October 2012) U.S. Navy engagement and training operation to the Caribbean and Central and South America. During the deployment, USS Underwood and embarked units participated in a variety of exercises and multinational exchanges to improve operational readiness and enhance relationships in the region.
MAYPORT, Fla. (Oct. 30, 2012) The guided-missile frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36) returns to Naval Station Mayport after completing its six-month Southern Seas deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Corey Barker/Released)
Southern Seas is an annual U.S. Southern Command-directed operation implemented by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command / U.S. 4th Fleet and carried out by Commander, Destroyer Squadron FOUR ZERO.
Southern Seas 2012 provided the opportunity for Western Hemisphere navies to operate in the multinational environment, refine coordination, improve interoperability, and demonstrate flexibility.
Major U.S. Navy units that participated in Southern Seas 2012 were:
- Destroyer Squadron FOUR ZERO
- USS Underwood (FFG 36)
- Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light Forty Eight (HSL 48) Detachment THREE.
During Southern Seas 2012, assigned units focused on operating in the multinational environment, being ready to deal with unconventional threats such as illicit trafficking, and improving training levels in a variety of mission areas.
Participating forces also took part in major regional exercises including UNITAS
Atlantic, and Silent Force Exercise (SIFOREX).
Forces also participated in a series of Theater Security Cooperation events, including military-to-military cooperation, humanitarian assistance, disaster response, combined training, exercises and operations, and maritime security.
USS Underwood made a variety of port visits designed to promote goodwill and friendship with nations in the region. The exchanges during Southern Seas involved face-to-face experiences between U.S. Sailors and thousands of foreign citizens and military personnel.
This was the seventh such naval deployment and falls under U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command / U.S. 4th Fleet’s “Partnership of the Americas” initiative. The first deployment, then known as Partnership of the Americas, took place in 2006 and included the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). Last year, USS Boone (FFG 28) and USS Thach (FFG 43) deployed to the region for Southern Seas 2011
About the “Partnership of the Americas” initiative
Partnership of the Americas is a strategic initiative that encompasses all U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command / U.S. 4th Fleet missions and is based on the premise that strong, open, multi-lateral partnerships enhance regional stability and security. Partnership of the Americas specifically involves Continuing Promise, Southern Partnership Station, Southern Seas and U.S. support to counter illicit trafficking operations.