Thursday, May 21, 2009

USS Doyle Gets Underway for Southern Seas Deployment to Latin America

MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- The guided-missile frigate USS Doyle (FFG 39) departed Naval Station Mayport May 7 to being the Southern Seas deployment to Latin America.

"It's bittersweet considering I had to leave my husband, family and friends along with all of the comforts of home, but considering it's my first deployment, I'm really excited that we are going out to finally do what we are supposed to do," said Ensign Heather Golightly, Doyle's force protection officer.

The 2009 Southern Seas deployment supports U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)'s Partnership of the Americas strategy, which emphasizes interoperability, regional stability, and building regional partnerships throughout the SOUTHCOM Area of Focus. That area encompasses the Caribbean, Central and South America and surrounding waters, where Southern Seas 2009 is scheduled to be a six-month deployment conducted from April to October.

Southern Seas will consist of three phases: UNITAS Gold; exercise Southern Seas; PANAMAX; and routine theater security cooperation events.

Before leaving Mayport, Doyle participated in UNITAS Gold, the 50th iteration of the annual multinational partnership building exercise, April 20-May 5. Doyle worked alongside maritime forces from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Mexico, Peru, the United States and Uruguay.

During Southern Seas, u.S. and partner nations will conduct training on anti-submarine, anti-ship, and anti-air warfare techniques. Doyle will work with allied navies to practice multi-ship maneuvering exercises, helicopter operations, personnel exchanges, and various other interoperability and cooperation fostering exercises and countering of unconventional threats such as counter-illicit trafficking, piracy, and fishery violations.

In addition to participating in multinational maritime exercises UNITAS, PANAMAX 2009, and the Southern Seas exercises, Doyle will be stopping in various ports throughout Latin America. Visits to Honduras, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Curacao and Trinidad Tobago, will allow Doyle's crew to learn first-hand about other countries' cultures, and historic backgrounds. Doyle will take part in continued training, as well as host receptions and personnel exchanges to facilitate the learning and friendship.

"I'm excited to see South America and go to places that I've never seen or been to before," said Sonar Technician Surface 3rd Class James Callahan, a Sailor aboard Doyle. "I will get to go where none of my friends or family have been. I'm going to take a lot of pictures to take the great memories with me."

Doyle's crew will also participate in community relations events in each port. During the events, Doyle plans to provide humanitarian assistance to the host countries by supplying pallets of materials from Project Handclasp consisting of hygiene and medical products, school supplies, clothing and toys.

During the deployment, Doyle will contribute to the overall goal to train side-by-side with the U.S. Navy's partner nations to learn from each other, by working together to overcome each country's maritime challenges.

The 2009 Southern Seas deployment is executed by Destroyer Squadron 40 as Commander, Task Group 40.0, consisting of Doyle, USS Kauffman (FFG 59), and USS Ford (FFG 54).