UNITAS 2011 comes to an end

For Escanaba, UNITAS is over. But, for USS Thach and USS Boone, the journey continues around the Cape of Good Hope towards UNITAS PAC. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Stuart Phillips.

For Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba, UNITAS is over. But, for USS Thach and USS Boone, the journey continues around the Cape of Good Hope towards UNITAS PAC. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Stuart Phillips.

Written by Ens. Ray Chaisson, Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba.

Last week, Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba took part in the UNITAS LANT 52 closing ceremonies. The three-week exercise, hosted by Brazil, with participating ships from the United States, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil, was a great success for all those involved.

Ensign Alicia Flanagan signals to the refueling team to move back from a U.S. Navy HH-60 Seahawk helicopter after filling the aircraft's fuel tank off the coast of Brazil. The refueling comes during one of the largest war game scenarios for this year's UNITAS LANT. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Lehmann.

Ensign Alicia Flanagan signals to the refueling team to move back from a U.S. Navy HH-60 Seahawk helicopter off the coast of Brazil. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Lehmann.

The three weeks were memorable for the Escanaba crew in many ways. We have visited places many of us have never been before, worked with foreign Navies, worked more closely with the U.S. Navy, and conducted exercises we rarely get the chance to.

Along with all our work on the sea, our crew was able to interact with the countries and crews on land. Through various engagements such as subject matter expert exchanges, sports events, crew exchanges and community relations events we were able to strengthen our professional ties even further.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Timothy Burns looks out over the shoreline of Salvador, Brazil, as the crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba makes preparations to moor.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Lehmann.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Timothy Burns looks out over the shoreline of Salvador, Brazil, as the crew makes preparations to moor. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Lehmann.

UNITAS was an opportunity for Escanaba to work with the U.S. Navy and foreign navies to demonstrate our capabilities and share our knowledge. The greatest lesson learned though was no matter the country, no matter the language, those of us who serve our nations on the sea share a bond that is universal.

Interacting with foreign navies allowed Escanaba’s crew to experience the commonality that all sailors share. We realized that we share the same passion for our jobs, the same grief over being away from home and the same humbling experience of working on the ocean.

Crewmembers from Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba and the USS Boone paint a church during a joint community service project in Rio Grande, Brazil.  The U.S. Coast Guard teamed with the Brazilian, Mexican, Argentinean and U.S. navies to give the church a fresh coat of paint and lawn care.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Lehmann.

Crewmembers from Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba and the USS Boone paint a church during a joint community service project in Rio Grande, Brazil. The U.S. Coast Guard teamed with the Brazilian, Mexican, Argentinean and U.S. navies to give the church a fresh coat of paint and lawn care. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Lehmann.

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