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News | July 20, 2023

A Multinational Staff Operating as One

By U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command / U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs

CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA -- U.S. Navy Sailors operate alongside partner nation sailors as a multinational staff during the underway portion of UNITAS LXIV, successfully conducting drills, maneuvers, and exercises from the Peruvian Navy flagship, BAP Pisco (AMP 156).

The exercise is currently taking place off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia, as part of UNITAS, spanning from June 15 to June 21, 2023. U.S. Navy ships and submarines work closely with partner nation vessels to carry out various maritime operations. This year, Colombia hosted UNITAS, which is the world's longest-running annual multinational maritime exercise. The exercise consists of multinational forces from 20 partner nations, including 26 warships/vessels, three submarines, 25 aircraft (fixed wing/helicopter), and approximately 7,000 people. The exercise trains forces in joint maritime operations that enhance tactical proficiency and increase interoperability with the presence of unmanned air, surface, and submarine systems.

"Working together as a multinational staff allows us to continue to learn and improve from each other every year," stated Colombian Navy Rear Adm. Carlos Oramas, Commander of the multinational staff. "Our teamwork during the exercise showcases the remarkable achievements we accomplish when united in pursuing a shared mission."

The multinational staff consists of sailors from various nations participating in UNITAS LXIV. The staff exemplifies a remarkable display of coordination and teamwork throughout a five-day underway phase. Each member is assigned specific responsibilities critical to the mission's success. During the underway, the staff coordinates and executes a wide range of operations and drills amongst all of the ships that participate.

"UNITAS plays a vital role in promoting collaboration and cooperation between the United States Navy and our South American partners." said United States Navy Capt. Bryan Gallo, the Deputy Commander of the multinational staff. “This exercise offers a great opportunity to strengthen bonds with our South American partners, enhancing interoperability, and fostering enduring friendships that reinforce regional and maritime stability."

UNITAS, Latin for Unity, is the longest-running multinational maritime exercise in the world. UNITAS was conceived in 1959, with the first UNITAS (UNITAS I) taking place in 1960. UNITAS has occurred every year since then.

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.

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