Mayport September 30, 2010 - USS Klakring (FFG 42) and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 42 Det. 10 completed a six-month deployment to South America and the Caribbean Sept. 29.
Klakring participated in the 51st iteration of UNITAS off the coast of Argentina during the first part of the deployment then moved on to Peru and participated in the UNITAS Pacific phase and Silent Forces Exercises (SIFOREX).
The ship visited 13 countries, made 20 port calls, transited through the Strait of Magellan and the Panama Canal, and made countless friendships along the way.
"The importance of the relationships – those made and those reaffirmed - cannot be understated," said Cmdr. Scott Smith, USS Klakring commanding officer. "Everywhere we went throughout South America and the Caribbean, there was a genuine warmth for our presence and it was our Sailors and those that have come before them on previous Southern Seas and other missions that made that possible.
"It was through the generosity of their time, their warfare expertise, and their quest to understand the individual cultures that made them welcome wherever we went. This was truly a once in a career deployment and I'm glad that we were selected to make it," said Smith.
Every port visit included military-to-military subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE), community relations (COMRELS) projects and sporting events. Deliveries of Project Handclasp donations, which included medical and hygiene supplies, were also made during various port visits.
Klakring's deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean was part of Southern Seas 2010, a U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) -directed operation that provides U.S. and international forces the opportunity to operate in a multi-national environment.
Southern Seas focuses on working with partner nations in the region conducting exercises, military-to-military engagements, and theater security cooperation engagements to enhance interoperability. This year's deployment included USS Klakring and HSL 42 Det 10, and were executed by Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40 as CTG 40.0.
US Naval Forces Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO) is the naval component commander for USSOUTHCOM and is responsible for all naval personnel and assets in the area of responsibility. COMUSNAVSO conducts a variety of missions in support of the U.S. Maritime Strategy, including theater security cooperation, partnership building, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, community relations and CIT operations.