By Ensign Jamar Miles, PANAMAX 2015 Public Affairs
MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Military members from 16 Central and South American nations participating in PANAMAX 2015 toured the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), Aug. 2.
PANAMAX is an annual, U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise aimed at developing strong working relationships between multinational forces to ensure the defense of the Panama Canal. More than 75 participants from 16 nations gathered at Naval Station Mayport from July 27 - Aug. 7 to conduct simulated crisis action planning to protect the Panama Canal. The tour of USS New York showcased one of the Navy's state-of-the-art amphibious ships and highlighted the variety of assets that can be used in complex, multinational operations.
"This was an excellent opportunity to see first hand a great amphibious asset. Ships like New York can make a huge impact in several types of maritime operations," said Chilean Rear Adm. Ronald McIntyre, the Combined Forces Maritime Component Commander for the exercise.
The tour provided a unique look inside the fifth San Antonio-class ship, whose namesake is one of the most iconic states in the U.S.
Participants viewed many Sept. 11, 2001 artifacts displayed on board, such as signs and uniforms worn by police and first responders that serve as important reminders of the attacks on the World Trade Center towers.
"I really enjoyed the cultural exchange gained by sharing this great ship, her crew, and her story with our partner nations. It felt great to be on the waterfront in the company of so many proud Sailors,"
said Capt. Jo Sarmiento, commanding officer of Navy Reserve component of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet.
PANAMAX 2015 supports U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.