The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36) completed the Exercise Scenario Phase (ESP) of UNITAS Pacific (PAC), May 23.
Underwood operated closely with ships from Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru during the two-day event.
“Basically, it entails multi-national cooperation,” said Lt. Lori Rose, Underwood’s operations officer. “We have the different units from the different navies coordinating in one force, the Blue force, going up against another force which is the opposition force. It gives us a chance to exercise the lessons that we’ve learned from being out here in the previous days.”
The ships engaged in a variety of exercises, ranging from maritime interdiction operations, counter-piracy events, air warfare, surface warfare, and anti-submarine warfare.
“This was the culmination of all the little things we’ve been doing up until the last few days of UNITAS PAC,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Brent Hall. “It’s more of a “be on your guard” type training. We set the ESP scenario and have no idea what’s coming or when it’s coming, so we have to just be on our toes from start to finish.”
Coordinating the exercises among the ships while maintaining a high operational tempo had its challenges, but proved to be a good opportunity for the navies to learn from each other.
“I’ve learned a lot of different techniques and a lot of different ways to execute certain types of events,” said Hall. “The other navies have different ways of carrying out their executions, but this broadened my horizons and gave me some more options to fall back on and put to use in the future sometime. I think this has been an excellent exchange of techniques and strategies between the navies.”
UNITAS PAC 53-12 is an annual naval exercise where the U.S. Navy and South American navies increase interoperability with each other and promote maritime security in the region. Underwood is representing the U.S. Navy during UNITAS PAC and is deployed to Central and South America and Caribbean in support of Southern Seas 2012.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports 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 27, 2012