Colombian Armada submarine A.R.C. Tayrona completed joint training with several U.S. Navy ship
s in early November, during a brief deployment under the Diesel Electric Submarine Initiative (DESI) off the coast of Mayport.
The DESI program, established in 2001, has engaged several diesel South American navies with submarines to provide a series of programmed stateside deployments. The goal is to support fleet training exercises and tactical development events.
“Being able to train with Tayrona gives us the opportunity to improve our skills in sub-surface detection,” said Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, Rear Adm. James W. Stevenson Jr. He met with Cmdr. Herney Gutierrez, Tayrona’s commanding officer, during an office call at U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO) headquarters in Mayport.
During the exercise, Tayrona was paired with its host ship, USS Vicksburg (CG 69). Lt.j.g. Andy Andreau, the ship’s electronic maintenance officer, accepted an invitation to join the Tayrona crew for 10 days as part of a ship-rider exchange.
“I felt like a part of the crew the second I stepped onboard and that is a lot to say from any Navy,” said Andreau. “They take enormous pride in what they do and the way they support the U.S. Navy. They are very proud to be the ones serving alongside us and are very happy to help us train in anti-submarine warfare operations.”
Tayrona completed the exercise and accepted a NAVSO-sponsored port visit
to Mayport to further partner nation relations in support of theater security cooperation.
“The crew doesn’t want to leave!” said Guiterrez. “They enjoyed shopping, the base amenities, and visiting places such as St. Augustine. They appreciated the hero’s welcome they received from the audience during their trip to Sea World.”
Gutierrez noted the importance of continued cooperation between the countries’ navies.
“We recognize this unique opportunity the United States has offered. The training is invaluable to us as well," he said. "We look forward to our next deployment to continue this rewarding relationship.”
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Holly Boynton, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command Public Affairs