UNITAS is an activity organized by the Southern Command of the United States that had more than four thousand five hundred people, who carried out joint operations in order to increase the level of training and preparation.
After more than a month away from its home port, the OPV “Comandante Toro” returned to Valparaiso Friday, August 4, after participating in the international operation UNITAS LXIV-2023 Colombia, which had about 4,500 members of the Armed Forces of 19 countries, who gave life to this exercise that included the deployment of 23 warships. Three submarines and 29 aircraft, deployed off the coast off Colombia.
The Unit was received by the Commander of Naval Operations, Vice Admiral José Luis Fernández together with the Commander in Chief of the First Naval Zone, Rear Admiral Juan Pablo Zuñiga.
Last Tuesday, June 27, the Unit sailed from Valparaíso together with a naval helicopter of the HU-1 squadron and a squadron of Marines, with the purpose of increasing mutual cooperation between friendly navies and contributing to project the Chilean Navy as a relevant actor in the Pacific, calling on July 11 to the Colombian port of Cartagena de Indias.
The Commander of the Unit, Commander Daniel Kopaitic stressed that, “the OPV ‘Comandante Toro’, served as Commander of the Coastal Task Unit, this means that we were in charge of the organization and work of a group of 10 ships of different nationalities, which we directed in all activities at sea, And we also interact with them prior to deployment to be able to synchronize properly in this exercise. Additionally, a squadron of Marines participated as a landing force aboard the USS ‘New York’, in the same way we have the participation of members of the Institution, aboard the BAC ‘Bispo’, which served as Commander of the Complete Task Unit of UNITAS.”
The international exercise UNITAS Colombia 2023 was divided into two phases: the first was in port, where coordination, planning and cultural exchanges meetings were held that aim to prepare in a good way the stage at sea that took place between July 15 and 20, with more than 70 naval exercises between friendly navies.
Commander Kopaitic acknowledged “I am proud to have participated in this exercise, with this crew of 61 sailors who moved in a total of approximately 7,000 miles to participate in the UNITAS exercise. Proud of the endowment that fulfilled impeccably, all the tasks arranged and leaving the name of Chile and the institution high as it corresponds”.
For his part, the Constable of the OPV “Toro”, Sergeant 1° (Mn.) Marco Antonio Soto, highlighted the delivery of the endowment, “they learned in a professional way experiences that are not repeated, such as interacting with navies of other countries, foreign ships on the sides and the quality of professionals they have I can assure you that they have much to highlight.”
The exercise was developed in maritime, amphibious and Amazonian phases, focusing on natural disasters, humanitarian aid and training in the various areas of Naval Warfare.
On July 21, the exercise ended, a day in which the crew of the OPV “Comandante Toro”, received the visit of the Commander in Chief of the Navy, Admiral Juan Andrés de la Maza. The commission was framed in interacting in the international system according to the national interest and international defense commitments assumed by the country, which include humanitarian aid tasks and contribution to the preservation of world peace and security. It also considers disaster cooperation in other countries, confidence- and security-building measures and other foreign policy contributions.