Tuesday, April 28, 2009

North Florida Beach Stormed by Multinational Forces

MAYPORT, Fla. (April 25, 2009) Canadian soldiers storm the beach near Mayport during a UNITAS Gold amphibious assault demonstration. Maritime forces from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, the United States, and Uruguay landed on the beach during a UNITAS Gold amphibious landing demonstration. UNITAS Gold is the 50th iteration of the annual multinational maritime exercise known as UNITAS, which provides the opportunity to conduct and integrate joint and combined land, maritime, coast guard and air operations in a realistic training environment. The exercise is taking place April 20-May 5. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alan Gragg.)

Focus on Defense:

MAYPORT, Fla., April 28, 2009 -- Maritime Forces from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, the United States and Uruguay practiced an amphibious landing on Mayport beach April 25 during UNITAS Gold.

Participants arrived in four landing craft, air cushioned (LCAC) amphibious hovercrafts to demonstrate an amphibious landing and set up security perimeters for additional troops and vehicles to come ashore. The demonstration was part of the annual multinational partnership-building exercise known as UNITAS.

UNITAS Gold is the commemorative exercise for the 50th iteration and runs April 20 - May 5 off the coast of Florida. UNITAS is designed to foster mutual cooperation between participating militaries and develop their capability to respond in a unified manner to a wide variety of maritime missions. The beach assault was a culmination of more than three months of planning, coordination and training between participating nations.

"Last week, when we were at Camp Blanding we were working on shooting skills, patrolling formations and proper ways to employ weapons," said Lance Cpl. Jeremiah Barnes, a radio operator with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines. "The biggest obstacle is the language barrier since the Brazilians here speak Portuguese and the Peruvians speak Spanish."

While waiting to board the LCAC, the marines and soldiers sat together, trading stories and preparing their weapons for the mock beach assault. Where communication proved difficult, U.S. Sailors and Marines acted as translators.

"We have been training at Camp Blanding to learn how to get down from helos, combat shooting and urban combat with all different nations," said 1st Technician Julio Rodriguez, 1st Battalion, Infanteria De Marina De Peru. "It is good training because everybody learns from everybody from Latin America, South America and the United States. That way we can all prepare to stand together against any threats."

As two hovercraft pulled out of the well deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), two more pulled in to embark the remaining marines and soldiers. Meanwhile the dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) deployed marines aboard amphibious assault vehicles to follow up the multi-national assault.

The at-sea portion of the exercise continues off the coast of Florida. On May 4, the partner nation ships will return to Naval Station Mayport to prepare for closing ceremonies held May 5.

(Report by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alan Gragg and U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Seth Johnson, UNITAS Gold Public Affairs.)

North Florida Beach Stormed by Multinational Forces
Combat Camera: Images from UNITAS Gold
Combat Camera: More Images from UNITAS Gold

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