The U.S. Navy deployed the USS George Washington task group to the waters surrounding Latin America and the Caribbean to conduct the Southern Seas 2015 deployment and take part in the multinational UNITAS naval exercises. From September - December 2015, the task group trained alongside multinational forces to enhance cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services and improve operational readiness. USS George Washington circumnavigated South America on its transit to Norfolk, Va. for scheduled refueling.
Southern Seas 2015 was a U.S. Southern Command-directed operation planned by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command / Commander, U.S. Fourth Fleet and carried out by USS George Washington (CVN 73). USS George Washington task group included Carrier Strike Group NINE (CSG9), Carrier Air Wing TWO (CVW-2), USNS Big Horn (T-AO-198), USNS Guadalupe (T-AO-200), USS Chafee (DDG 90) and USS McFaul (DDG 74).
Southern Seas 2015 supports the U.S. Maritime Strategy and U.S. Southern Command objectives for enhanced maritime security in the region. The deployment provided the opportunity for U.S and partner nation forces to operate in a multinational environment, refine coordination, improve interoperability and demonstrate flexibility.
The task group conducted a variety of exercises and multinational exchanges. These exchanges included Distinguished Visitor embark engagements with Panama, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay; and bilateral at-sea operations with Japan, Peru, Chile and Brazil. USS George Washington also visited Peru, Chile, and Brazil during port visits.
As part of Southern Seas 2015, the multinational exercise UNITAS 2015 was conducted in two phases: UNITAS Pacific and UNITAS Atlantic.
UNITAS, Latin for “unity,” is a longstanding, combined South American and U.S.-sponsored annual exercise series.
UNITAS supports U.S. Southern Command objectives for enhanced maritime security in its area of responsibility. It is intended to train participating forces in a variety of maritime scenarios to test command and control of forces at sea, while operating as a multinational force to provide the maximum opportunity to improve interoperability.
Chile will hosted the exercise, with participation from Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, and the United States.
The following U.S. assets participated in UNITAS Pacific: USS George Washington (CVN 73), Carrier Strike Group NINE (CSG9), Carrier Air Wing TWO (CVW-2), USS Chafee (DDG 90), USNS Guadalupe (T-AO-200), Commander, Destroyer Squadron 23 (CDS-23), U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet staff, VP-9, VP-62 ANG KC-135, and U.S. Navy Reserve augmentees.
Participating Chilean forces included seven ships, two submarines, and four aircraft. Colombia and Mexico each provided one ship with a helicopter detachment.
Brazil hosted the exercise, with participation from Cameroon, Chile, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Senegal, and the United States.
The following U.S. assets participated in UNITAS Atlantic: USS George Washington (CVN 73), Carrier Strike Group NINE (CSG9), Carrier Air Wing TWO (CVW-2), USS Chafee (DDG 90), USS McFaul (DDG 74), USNS Big Horn (T-AO-198), Commander, Destroyer Squadron 23 (CDS-23), U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet staff, VP-8, KC-135, and U.S. Naval Reserve augmentees.
Brazil participated with six ships, one submarine, and eight aircraft. Chile participated with one ship and a helicopter and Peru took part with one ship, one helicopter, and one Fokker F-60 aircraft.
From Nov. 14 - 25, approximately 1,000 representatives from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and the United States participated in UNITAS Amphibious 2015, a combined Field Training Exercise in the vicinity of the Ilha do Governador and Ilha da Marambaia, Brazil. It is a U.S. Marine Corps-led exercise designed to enhance interoperability in amphibious operations and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief missions. The exercise was hosted by Brazil and led by U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South.
The U.S.-sponsored exercise develops and sustains relationships which improve the capacity of partner nation security forces to achieve common desired regional goals. This annual exercise fosters friendly cooperation and understanding among all participating forces.
The following U.S. assets participated in UNITAS Amphibious: Marine Forces Reserve (MARFORRES) (New Orleans, La.); 23rd Marine Regiment, Marine Forces Reserve (San Bruno, Calif.); 2nd Bn, 23rd Marine Regiment, Marine Forces Reserve (Pasadena, Calif.); 4th Marine Logistics Group, Marine Forces Reserve (New Orleans, La.); 4th Civil Affairs Group, Marine Forces Reserve (Hialeah, Fla.); U.S. Southern Command (Doral, Fla.); U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South (Doral, Fla.); 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Camp Pendleton, Calif.); U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (4th Fleet) Navy South (Mayport, Fla.); Joint Communication Support Element (MacDill AFB, Fla.); Amphibious Squadron 6 (Norfolk, Va.); Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 764 (VMM-764) (Miramar, Calif.); and 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (2nd ANGLICO) (Camp Lejeune, N.C.).
This was the ninth iteration of this exercise. Previously known as "Partnership of the Americas," the exercise began in 2006 as a company-level multinational exchange exercise where a Marine unit traveled to Chile and subsequently to Peru to conduct military-to-military exchanges.
This was the ninth Southern Seas deployment conducted in the region since 2006. The first deployment, then known as Partnership of the Americas, also included the aircraft carrier USS George Washington.
UNITAS, the U.S. Navy`s longest-running annual multilateral exercise, was first carried out in 1960 and has been held every year since. UNITAS exercises are conducted annually in Atlantic and Pacific waters around South America. UNITAS enhances friendly, mutual cooperation and understanding between participating navies by developing interoperability in naval operations among the nations of the region.
50 Years of Cooperation: The history of UNITAS (Published 2009)
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U.S. Navy Maritime Strategy
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