MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, hosted delegates from the Armada de Chile for the annual Maritime Staff Talks (MST) July 22.
MST's support the U.S. global strategy by building and strengthening working relationships between the U.S. and partner nations and improving interoperability through face-to-face meetings. This year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic the talks occurred virtually via the All Partner Access Network (APAN) and the Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS).
Representatives from the Chilean Navy (Armada de Chile), U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Coast Guard participated in the event.
Gabrielson, along with Major General Michael Fahey, U.S. Marine Corps Forces South led the U.S delegation and Rear Admiral Pedro Abrego, Commanding General of the Chilean Infantry Corps (Marine Corps), and Commodore Jorge Parga, Deputy Chief of the Chilean Navy General Staff, led the Chilean delegation.
“Our relationship from the United States’ perspective is very strong, it’s very deep, and getting better,” said Gabrielson. “It is our job to make sure that the path forward is clear and meaningful.”
MST topics included review of upcoming scheduled warfighting operations and exercises over the next two years, and plans for education and training opportunities for Chilean personnel in the U.S., and U.S. personnel in Chile. Representatives also discussed COVID-19 Lessons Learned for both the United States and Chilean militaries.
"It is no mystery that we are living through unprecedented times sailing uncharted waters. The COVID-19 pandemic is still floating and the full extent of its impact is yet known,” said Parga. “This is a truly global crisis."
The MST will serve as a comprehensive engagement venue for all bilateral maritime security cooperation activities. Over the past year, U.S. and Chilean navies have participated in many exercises including UNITAS and FUERZAS COMANDO. In addition, the U.S. is donating two field hospitals to Chile to support capacity for patients hospitalized to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of these cooperative efforts enabled effective interoperability and aided each navy's ability to work alongside one another.
“Despite these unique circumstances I am very happy to see that we are finally able to hold this important bilateral meeting,” said Parga. “The MST provides us with a unique opportunity to expand our existing partnership and achieve an even greater level of cooperation."
"We enjoy a strong partnership with the Chilean Navy, with a long history of annual staff talks. It was important to both sides to continue that dialogue in spite of COVID-19. Although it was not in person, we were able to adapt and lay the foundation for an even stronger partnership with Chile," said Lt. Cmdr. Windsor Frinell, U.S. 4th Fleet regional engagement desk officer.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region. For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.
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For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.