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image located by Esteban Rivera, 23 September 2006
Source: http://www.lejeune.usmc.mil/unitas/ . The flag of the Marine Forces Unitas is the emblem on a white background.
This is yet another military cooperation system for American countries, very similar to the SICOFAA, which is a regional International Organization. The Marine Forces Unitas is a United States Marine Corps Infantry unit formed to participate in the annual Unitas deployment to South America. Every other year, the deployment also travels to South Africa. The Unitas deployment is a four-month Navy/Marine Corps exercise that began in 1959 as strictly a Navy operation. In 1981 it was expanded to include amphibious operations with Marines. The exercise typically runs each year between July and December, involving the participation of the following countries:
Over the years, the amphibious portion of the exercise has evolved to
those missions of a reinforced Mechanized Rifle Company of Marines.
The unit is specifically organized and trained to operate with Marines
of the various participating countries. Operating from either a Tank
Landing Ship (LST) or a Dock Landing Ship (LSD), the Marines conduct
amphibious landings, infantry operations ashore, weapons cross
training, professional symposia, static displays, sporting events and
community relations projects.
Typical operations involve a combined U.S. and South American Marine battalion-sized landing, with each country providing one rifle company and an Amphibious Assault Vehicle platoon of tracked vehicles. The unit is reinforced with a reconnaissance det, a small boat det, and a shore fire control party. Periodically the unit is supported by a helicopter detachment. The unit is capable of conducting amphibious operations in the air, on land and sea.
Marine Forces Unitas is unique in that it is not a standing unit, but created each year especially for the annual Unitas deployment. The Marines come from various air, ground and support units of the II Marine Expeditionary Force which is headquartered at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Unitas, Latin meaning "unity," provides the Marines and Sailors of the U.S. Navy/ Marine Corps team a tremendous opportunity to participate in South American training exercises, to cultivate stronger ties, and to increase interoperability with foreign allies.
Official UNITAS website: http://www.lejeune.usmc.mil/unitas/
Esteban Rivera, 23 September 2006