ANCON, Peru (NNS) -- Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5 / Amphibious-Southern Partnership Station 2010 (A-SPS 10) and USS New Orleans (LPD-18) participated in the opening ceremony for Southern Exchange and Partnership of the Americas 2010 (SE/POA 10) in Ancon, Peru, July 5.
A-SPS 10 is a deployment of various specialty platforms to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility in Latin America and the Caribbean. The mission's primary goal is mission-focused information sharing with navies, coast guards, and civilian services throughout the region in order to enhance regional maritime capabilities and security.
A-SPS 10 provides the opportunity for joint operations between partner nations, which develops and tests participating regional civil and maritime services' capabilities to respond to a wide variety of maritime missions while keeping vital lines of communication open between regional services.
Included in A-SPS 10 are U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South multinational amphibious exercises, Partnership of the Americas and Southern Exchange, where U.S. Marines from Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) 24 focus on enhancing proficiency and interoperability between the U.S. Marine Corps and partner nation forces in the areas of peacekeeping, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.
The opening ceremony, held in a military installation in Ancon, included over 1,000 Navy and Marine forces from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, and Uruguay.
Rear Adm. Luis Ramos, commandant of the Peruvian Marines, made the opening remarks.
"It's a real privilege to receive such a select group from all countries," said Ramos. "This exercise offers all a big chance to perform joint [operations] and to strengthen the bonds among the participating nations."
Following Ramos' initial speech, the Peruvian exhibition drill team performed an impressive routine, showcasing their crisp movements in front of all the participants. Ramos, along with Vice Adm. Jorge De La Puente, Peru's naval chief of staff, and Rear Adm. Erick Giovannini, Peru's Pacific Operations Command chief of staff, shook hands with senior officers from each participating nation's forces before the ceremony concluded.
The U.S. Navy is deploying New Orleans to Peru to support POA/SE 10. The presence of New Orleans and the execution of POA-10 in Peru resulted from the agreement with the country of Peru to host UNITAS Pacific 2010 thereby allowing the utilization of naval assets in support of POA-10 and SE-10.
"The Americas share common interests and multinational partnership missions like Partnership of the Americas and Southern Exchange." said Capt. Peter J. Brennan, PHIBRON 5 commodore and A-SPS 10 mission commander.
"Using USS New Orleans and partner nation forces' assets amplifies the Navy-Marine Corps team's commitment to fostering a friendly, mutually cooperative environment throughout USSOUTHCOM's area of responsibility."
Navy and Marine Corps forces from nine partner nations will participate in both Partnership of the Americas 2010 and Southern Exchange 2010 from July 4-24 in Salinas and Ancon, Peru. New Orleans will serve as the platform from which SPMAGTF 24 will conduct amphibious operations.
Service members from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay are deployed with New Orleans in order to enhance the interaction between those partner nations and the U.S. Navy during A-SPS 10. New Orleans, with PHIBRON 5 and other embarked units, are scheduled to visit Callao, Peru; Bahia Malaga, Colombia; and Balboa, Panama during the three-month deployment.