Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, Rear Adm. Sean Buck, hosted Armada de Chile Rear Adm. Yerko Marcic Conley and his delegation for the annual Maritime Staff Talks (MST) at the Florida National Guard Headquarters in St. Augustine, Apr. 23-25.

MST’s support the U.S. global strategy by building and strengthening working relationships between the U.S. and partner nations and improving interoperability through face-to-face meetings.

“The importance of maintaining all of our relationships between our two navies cannot be overemphasized,” said Buck. “It is only through coordinated efforts that we can move the ball ahead. Maritime operations in our hemisphere are complex and dynamic, our regional challenges require cooperative solutions between our navies. We, the United States, are never going to go it alone. We want to partner with Chile to go across threats and challenges that are common to both of us.”

“We are here after two days of meetings,” said Buck. “Finding opportunities to increase our interoperability and brainstorming ways to overcome challenges within the region. Today we sign our agreed way ahead for the coming year, and I would like to thank each one of you, for your presence this week, for engaging with our counterparts and putting forth an outstanding effort.”

Over the past year, U.S. and Chilean navies have participated in many exercises including UNITAS, PANAMAX, CHILEMAR, and Team Work South. All of these cooperative efforts enabled effective interoperability and aided each navy’s ability to work alongside one another, immediately responding to search and rescue efforts for the Argentine submarine ARA San Juan.

Later this year, Chile will assume the role of Combined Forces Maritime Component Commander for RIMPAC 2018.

“The U.S. and Chile have a strong maritime partnership,” said Conley. “These meetings provide an excellent opportunity to continue building close friendships and storng cooperations. It is a tremendous honor to assume the CFMCC role during RIMPAC this year, and it would not be possible without a consistent effort to conduct these talks.”

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT) fulfills the maritime role within U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations. USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT employs maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, fortify the ability of U.S. forces to work together with partner nations, and build enduring partnerships with the ultimate goal of enhancing regional security and promoting peace, stability, and prosperity.