August 30, 2019 – Brazil hosted over 3,100 personnel from 13 countries for the 60th anniversary of exercise UNITAS, the longest running multinational maritime exercise in the world, Aug. 18-30.
During closing ceremonies, Maj. Gen. Michael Fahey III, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces South, spoke to the participants.
“We are a successful team because we share the same ideals…respect for human rights, freedom, rule of law and commitment to peace,” said Fahey. “And we will continue to be a successful team because our partnership forges a regional capacity that’s second to none.”
Naval forces from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Great Britain, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal and the United States joined Brazil for the Atlantic/Amphibious phase of UNITAS LX (Roman numeral for 60).
This phase of UNITAS LX covered a variety of naval warfare missions, as crews from ten warships and eight aircraft shared their expertise during scenario-driven maritime operations. They executed littoral warfare, anti-piracy, maritime interception, counter transnational organized crime, anti-surface warfare, electronic warfare, communications, air, and amphibious operations that increased interoperability and capability between participating forces.
The exercise focused in strengthening the existing regional partnerships and encouraged establishing new relationships through the exchange of maritime mission-focused knowledge and expertise during multinational training operations to better respond together to natural and man-made humanitarian crises.
“Developing skills and building lasting friendship with our counterparts is critical to guaranteeing our response to any future maritime threat in the AOR [area of responsibility]. UNITAS is about building trust,” said Capt. Thomas Myers, Deputy Commodore of Destroyer Squadron 40. “It’s about learning each other’s strength and weaknesses, so that we can become a cohesive unit if called to action. In a region, where military action moves at the speed of trust, we need exercises like UNITAS that allows us to build that trust early and often.”
For 60 years, the United States has built upon commonalities and increased capabilities within the Western Hemisphere through exercise UNITAS. Different countries host the exercise each year, facilitating the opportunity to gain experience leading a multinational force through complex maritime warfare scenarios and simulated disaster exercises.
UNITAS, which is Latin for “unity,” was conceived in 1959, first executed in 1960 and has been held every year since. This year marks the 60th iteration of UNITAS. The exercise continues to develop and sustain relationships that improve the capacity of our emerging and enduring partners’ maritime forces to achieve common desired effects and fosters friendly, cooperation and understanding between participating navies.