FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 30, 2012
NAS Key West to Host Multinational Maritime Exercise
Naval Air Station Key West will play host to a multitude of U.S. Navy and participating nation ships in September as U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet kick off UNITAS Atlantic 2012.
The ships will be berthed at NAS Key West's Truman Harbor in mid-September for the opening phase of UNITAS before conducting the rest of the exercise in the Caribbean Sea. Six U.S. Navy ships and one U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, to include Mayport, Fla.-based frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36), are scheduled to participate in the Atlantic phase along with ships from Brazil, Colombia, Canada and Mexico.
"Accommodating the participating UNITAS ships will be a true testament to the capabilities of Naval Air Station Key West, as we can readily support port operations as well as tactical air combat training," said NAS Key West Commanding Officer Capt. Patrick Lefere. "Hosting exercises like UNITAS is just another example of how we fulfill our mission, which is to support the operational and readiness requirements for the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, National Guard units, federal agencies, and allied forces."
UNITAS, Latin for “unity,” is the longest running multinational naval exercise being conducted each year since 1959. The exercise is focused on operating and training together in scenario-based environments, theater security operations, anti-terrorism and counter-narcotic operations. UNITAS also includes live-fire exercises, humanitarian assistance and disaster response training. U.S. personnel are given the opportunity to work and train side-by-side with Sailors of the Latin American navies and build relationships. The relationships that develop from this exercise will help foster cooperation and understanding between participating countries.
"The Atlantic phase of UNITAS is going to be a very robust endeavor this year focused on partnering, sharing and working with the participating naval forces in this hemisphere," said Rear Adm. Kurt Tidd, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet.
"USNAVSO is looking forward to hosting this phase of UNITAS and kicking it off with an opening ceremony and ship tours at Naval Air Station Key West."
For more information contact Naval Air Station Key West Public Affairs at (305) 293-2027.
- U.S. NAVY -