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13th Marine Expeditionary Unit
"The Fighting Thirteenth"

Multinational Forces Embarked as South America Task Force is Underway
11 Oct 2019

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.- Partners from four Central and South American nations embarked on the USS Wasp (LHD 1) with U.S. Marines as part of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force- WASP.

Marines and Sailors from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and El Salvador joined SPMAGTF-WASP to provide amphibious and cultural subject matter expertise to the task force’s mission.

The newly formed Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – WASP departed Naval Base San Diego on Sept. 25 for their month-long deployment to South America.

"Embarking on the USS Wasp with our Central and South American partners is an incredible opportunity to work together, alongside our Navy brothers and sisters," said Sgt Maj. Stuart Glass, SPMAGTF-WASP sergeant major. "Having Marines more familiar with expeditionary operations afloat makes us effective as a unified Navy-Marine Corps when responding to crises world-wide."

While aboard, amphibious leaders from five nations rehearsed the rapid response planning process during various crisis response scenarios. The purpose of these mission rehearsals was to enhance naval integration and build mutual understanding of roles and responsibilities during humanitarian assistance and disaster response evolutions.

"The Navy-Marine Corps team is a vital part of our nation's crisis response force," said Col. Andrew Priddy, commanding officer of SPMAGTF-WASP. "What makes us the most effective and capable unit is not that we are a land force who can embark on ships but that we are part of a fleet Marine force that can go ashore."

Multinational planners from Central and South America aboard an amphibious ship with Marines is a rare and highly valuable opportunity for partner nations to train side-by-side in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.

"Integration with our South American partners allows us to exchange operational knowledge, forge enduring relationships, and increase our ability to respond to humanitarian disasters as a singular force," said Capt. Daniel Vacchio, SPMAGTF-WASP’s lead planner.

Training opportunities such as SPMAGTF-WASP allows the U.S. Marine Corps to increase naval integration, interoperability and improve effectiveness as an expeditionary force. Additionally, working with partner nation militaries creates a unified effort to respond to contingencies such as humanitarian crises and natural disasters.

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Capt. Joshua Hays

13th Marine Expeditionary Unit

13th Marine Expeditionary Unit