UNITAS LXI, the world’s longest running multinational maritime exercise, concluded with a closing ceremony in Manta, Ecuador, Nov. 11.
For this year’s iteration of UNITAS, Ecuador served as the host nation, joined by forces from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Peru, Uruguay, and the United States.
Partner nations used 13 warships and 12 aircraft to conduct scenario-driven joint and combined operations and training to enhance interoperability, flexibility, and increase maritime, air, and ground-domain awareness in the Western Hemisphere.
Events included: surface tactical maneuvers, a sinking exercise (SINKEX), a live-fire exercise, a replenishment-at-sea, search and rescue exercises, anti-submarine warfare exercises, air defense exercises, amphibious landing, reconnaissance, assault, security, and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief response training.
The at-sea phase culminated in a multi-threat, multi-day scenario that allowed participants to work together, further increasing preparedness for real-world crises that would require a multi-national force response effort.
Additionally, U.S. Marine Corps Forces South hosted partner-nations at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, to integrate with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Southern Command and conducted further interoperability training for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief situations.
“Congratulations to all participants on the successful execution of UNITAS LXI,” said Brig. Gen. Phillip Frietze, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South. “Your efforts and performance have contributed to building the capacity and strength of our nations to rise together and achieve common goals.”
Peru will host UNITAS LXII next year to celebrate the bicentennial of the country and the Peruvian navy.
For 61 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 joint and combined maritime warfare scenarios and exercises.
UNITAS, Latin for “unity,” was conceived in 1959, first executed in 1960 and has been held every year since. This year marks the 61st iteration of UNITAS. The exercise continues to develop and sustain relationships that improve the capacity of our emerging and enduring partners’ joint and combined maritime forces to achieve common desired effects and fosters friendly cooperation and understanding between participating military forces.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet is responsible for U.S. Naval forces in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility, including the Caribbean, Central and South America.