By U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs
MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Argentine Chief of the General Staff of the Navy Adm. Gaston Erice visited Rear Adm. George Ballance, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/ U.S. 4th Fleet, Nov. 3-4.
This marks the first time an Argentine naval chief - which is the equivalent of the U.S. chief of naval operations - has visited the United States in the past 20 years.
"The visit was productive, enlightening and positive," said Rear Adm. George Ballance, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/ U.S. 4th Fleet (USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT). "Visits such as this are important for the U.S. Navy and our ability to build ties throughout the region to promote our mutual interests."
Adm. Erice also visited USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), South East Regional Maintenance Center at Mayport, and Patrol Squadron 30 (VP-30) at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
"We look forward to future opportunities to work together on various maritime exercises that are mutually beneficial for our navies," added Ballance.
Before visiting with 4th Fleet, Adm. Erice visited with the U.S. Navy's new Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, the new Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps General Robert Neller, and the Navy's Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy Vice Adm. John Aquilino.
"As the Argentine desk officer at USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT, it was quite satisfying to plan and execute this key leader engagement," said Cmdr. Brian Morrill, one of three regional desk officers for USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT. "The U.S. and Argentine navies have a long history of working together, and when we saw the opportunity to rekindle those ties and bring our navies even closer together, we jumped on it! I believe this visit will have long-lasting positive effects for both countries."
The two navies have participated in several different exercises together. Some of the most recent include Fuerzas Comando 2015, the 11th U.S. Naval War College Regional Symposium, the 1st Inter-American Naval Intelligence Analysts' Seminar, and PANAMAX 2011.
The bilateral relationship between the United States and Argentina is based on shared interests, including nuclear non-proliferation, cooperation on transnational issues, regional peace and stability, and science and technology initiatives.
USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT 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