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UNITAS Atlantic 2012 Participants Exchange Subject Matter Experts

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120924-07

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Frank J. Pikul. U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs

CARIBBEAN SEA (NNS) -- Naval forces participating in UNITAS Atlantic 2012 conducted subject matter expert exchanges with other participating nations for the duration of UNITAS Atlantic 53-12 multinational exercise hosted by U.S. 4th Fleet.

There are 14 U.S. Navy personnel embarked on various partner nation ships and foreign personnel from France, Peru, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, France, and Canada on four U.S Navy ships and one U.S. Coast Guard cutter.

There are four partner nation officers aboard the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36), seven aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68), four aboard the USS Bradley (FFG 49), one aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107), and three aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter CGC Escanaba (WMEC-907).

"I like the idea having personnel from different navies onboard our ship because it gives us an opportunity to exchange ideas and make connections that could be helpful in the future," said Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan M. Griffin, the combat systems officer aboard Anzio. "It gives us insights on how other navies handle different situations and how we might be able to help each other in future operations together."

The subject matter experts are aboard the different ships to increase the operational capability on a multi-national level and to bring a spirit of friendship and cooperation between partner nations.

"I am enjoying my experience so far and I am learning about different platforms and systems," said Sub-Lt. Garrett Aitken, a junior officer assigned to the Canadian Oiler HMCS Preserver (AR-8) and embarked aboard Anzio. "I believe that by holding these subject matter expert exchanges each partner nation can work together to accomplish our missions."

They also bring their own ideas and experiences to the table with them and can help find better ways to problem-solve during different situations.

"I think that different cultures and traditions have an impact when they come together," said Aitken. "Each one brings something different to the table that may help the mission proceed more smoothly. I definitely would recommend any officer or enlisted person to cross-deck to another ship and experience what I have so far."

UNITAS Atlantic 53-2012 is a U.S. and South America-sponsored international naval exercise. This is the 53rd year partner nations have participated in UNITAS, which stands for "unity" in Latin, making it the longest ongoing maritime exercise in the region. Thirteen warships from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, the United States and the United Kingdom and observers from France, Jamaica, Panama and Peru are participating in the exercise, which will run from Sept. 17 though Sept. 28, 2012 in the west Caribbean and associated areas.

UNITAS is designed to train each naval force in a variety of maritime scenarios, which each operating as a component of a multinational force to provide the maximum opportunity to improve interoperability. The exercise develops and sustains relationships that improve the capacity of our emerging and enduring partners' maritime forces to achieve common desired effects. This annual exercise fosters friendly, mutual cooperation and understanding between participating navies.

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