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Operation UNITAS LIX Ends on a High Note

first_imgBy Myriam Ortega/Diálogo October 18, 2018 The U.S. Navy’s longest-running multinational maritime exercise successfully wrapped up its demanding training in the Caribbean sea. Under the leadership of the Colombian Navy, Operation UNITAS LIX gathered more than 1,800 service members, 17 warships—including six foreign vessels—and 17 aircraft from 10 countries, August 31st–September 11th. UNITAS LIX featured 70 naval exercises focused on humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations. Participating units also carried out surface and anti-aircraft warfare, diving exercises, maritime interdiction and control, search and rescue, and live fire, among other activities. Service members from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States put their interoperability capabilities to the test. Ecuador took part in the exercise after an 11-year absence. “UNITAS lets us train to fight terrorism together, so we can defend democracy and national freedom,” said U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Linda Wackerman, deputy commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command. “Together we are stronger to confront the new security challenges that arise every day.” Rescue and war operations Among the exercises, participants focused their efforts on humanitarian and disaster relief operations. The multinational elements joined forces to face a fictitious earthquake in the Gulf of Morrosquillo off Colombia’s Caribbean coast, which required the creation of a multinational force and the deployment of air and naval vessels to support the affected population and mitigate the earthquake’s effects. “This pointed to the need to create a multinational task force through a United Nations resolution to reach the area with different kinds of humanitarian aid,” said Vice Admiral Gabriel Pérez Garcés, commander of the Colombian Navy’s Caribbean Naval Force and commander of UNITAS LIX. “We needed to use amphibious landing ships that could reach coastal areas, provide support, and also guarantee security and clear transit in the sea off the coastline.” Service members conducted combined search-and-rescue exercises on the ground and at sea. Colombian, Ecuadorean, Peruvian, and U.S divers also took part in exercises equipped with rescue gear and new underwater search and reconnaissance technologies, such as side-scan sonars that produce seabed images and remotely operated underwater vehicles. “We were able to learn jointly thanks to the United States’ remarkable cutting-edge technological capabilities,” said Vice Adm. Pérez. “We know how sensitive search-and-rescue matters are and where we can use diving capabilities. This enabled us to grow in this sense.” Aboard the USS Gunston Hall, Colombian and U.S. forces also conducted rappel exercises from a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, assigned to Joint Task Force Bravo at Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras. At sea, service members carried out maritime control operations with patrol ships from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and the United States. Units also conducted an anti-submarine warfare exercise with three Colombian submarines—ARC Tayrona, ARC Intrépido, and ARC Indomable—to detect and monitor the vessels. “We integrated Colombian submarines in the initial work up, and conducted an anti-submarine warfare exercise to search for the submarine with a U.S. P8 war aircraft,” Colombian Navy Captain Luis Felipe Rojas, commander of the Submarine Fleet, told Diálogo. “Finally in the scenario phase, we put a submarine under the control of each force, so as to best tap into each unit’s capabilities.” Excellent outcome In addition to the simulated exercises, UNITAS LIX participants carried out a humanitarian campaign in Tierrabomba Island in Cartagena Bay, benefiting a local village. About 60 service members traveled to the island to entertain 180 children, donate a playground, whiteboards, double desks with chairs, textbooks, as well as sports and leisure supplies. Conducted for the first time in 1960, UNITAS, from the Latin unity, is carried out yearly. The exercise enables the armed forces of participating partner nations to strengthen bonds of friendship, while generating cooperation and mutual understanding. “I feel very proud and pleased with the operation’s results,” Vice Adm. Pérez said. “With the professionalism and leadership of unit commanders and their crews, preparation, readiness, and doctrine application were evident.”last_img read more

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4 persons hurt in road crash

first_imgThe 60-year-old Segundito Segador; 43-year-oldRhea Estrella; Jeff Geolagio and his 11-year-old sister Liza sustained injurieson the body, police said. The suspect was in the custody of the Guimbalpolice station. He vowed to pay for all the hospital expenses of the victims./PN The crash happened around 7:30 a.m. onTuesday. The driver of the pickup was identifiedas Zaldy Torrechante, 49, of Barangay Atabayan, Tigbauan, Iloilo. ILOILO City – The tricycle they wereriding crashed against a pickup truck in Barangay Nanga, Guimbal, Iloilo. last_img read more

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CDC Releases Guidelines for Safely Reopening Schools

first_imgThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week released new guidelines for safely reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic.The 60 page CDC document explains that some of the guidelines for schools include:-Face coverings for all staff members — with coverings encouraged for students-Cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces daily-Restrictions on mixing of students, keeping the same groups of students with the same staff members as much as possible-Canceling of field trips, events, and extracurricular activities-Spacing desks 6 ft. apart, facing the same direction-Closing dining halls and serving meals in classroomsBased on a recommendation from @lEducationFL & a ‘Stay at Home’ order in PBC, I will keep District schools closed to students until further notice. Distance Learning [email protected] looks forward to welcoming students back on campus when it’s safe. pic.twitter.com/SnamfhgKLX— Donald E. Fennoy II (@SuptFennoy) March 31, 2020 -Spacing on school buses, putting one student in every other row-Minimize sharing of objects such as electronic devices-Serving pre-packaged food instead of buffet-style meals when possible-Conducting daily health screenings, such as temperature checksThe Florida Department of Education has not yet released its recommendations for public schools in the state.“No decisions have been announced at this time of when schools might re-open and what that might look like,” a department spokesperson says.Meanwhile, the Palm Beach School District released the following statement: “The School District is reviewing the newly-released CDC guidelines, and as we continue to develop plans in this ever-evolving situation, the safety and health of our students and staff will remain our top priority.”last_img read more

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