US Navy strengthens defence ties with Chilean counterparts

US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson has visited Chile to meet with Chilean naval command and pay tribute to the country’s numerous contributions to Pacific maritime security, while also discussing ways in which the US and Chilean navies can build closer ties.

During his visit, Richardson toured the National Tsunami Early Warning Center where he presented awards to the country’s naval officers and later met with his Chilean counterpart, Admiral Julio Leiva Molina.

Crucially, this is the latest in a series of South American engagements, which began with the Inter-American Naval Conference (IANC) in Colombia where 18 heads of navies met to discuss strengthening partnerships and maritime cooperation.

“Chile is participating for the 12th time, but in a historic first, the Chilean Commodore Pablo Niemann serves as the combined forces maritime component commander, in effect, commanding all manoeuvring afloat forces in a series of high-end warfare missions,” said Richardson. “This role is a worthy opportunity to showcase the Armada de Chile’s first-class capabilities.”

Richardson later presented the Legion of Merit to two Chilean naval attaché officers aboard the flagship CNS Williams (FF 19) in recognition of their work to expand the partnership between the US and Chile.

“These types of relationships are very important and allow us to combine our forces, not only to maximize our naval power, but also to bring our countries closer together,” said Richardson. “The work of our two awardees is a fantastic example of the power of diplomacy to enhance naval and national relationships.”

Richardson’s visit also coincided with the 200-year anniversary of the Chilean navy, and the US Chief went on to congratulate Armada de Chile on reaching this historic milestone.

“Two hundred years is a remarkable anniversary,” said Richardson. “There’s not many navies in the world that can mark 200 years of service to their country. To all of the sailors in the Chilean navy, my very best wishes. I hope you are very proud of what you do to secure the freedom of seas that is the engine which fuels the Chilean economy and secures Chile from attack from anybody who dare to take her on.”

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