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VALPARAISO, Chile (NNS) - The Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2011 Mission Commander along with senior U.S. Navy officers participated in the opening ceremony of the 7th Expo Naval in Puerto Valparaiso, Chile, Nov. 30.

Cmdr. Mark Becker, SPS 2011 Mission Commander, and the joint military and civilian team aboard High Speed Vessel 2 (HSV 2) Swift are participating in the expo by conducting bay tours and stationary tours of the Incat-built high-speed catamaran for groups of American and foreign military and government leaders throughout the week-long conference.

"Today is a great example of how information exchange like this benefits navies around the world," said Becker, who is Deputy Chair of the Warfare Analysis Department at the Naval War College. "We're honored to be invited to support this event and welcome our partner nations to experience HSV 2 this week."

101201-N-2984R-306 VALPARAISO (Dec. 1, 2010) -- High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV) civilian Capt. Rhett Mann and Cmdr. Mark Becker, Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2011 mission commander, lay a wreath at the steps of the Monument to the Heroes of Iquique.  Swift is in Valparaiso participating in Expo Naval 2010 as part of SPS 2011. SPS is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command's area of responsibility in the Caribbean and Latin America involving information sharing with navies, coast guards and civilian services throughout the region. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ricardo J. Reyes/Released)Expo Naval is a one-week international exhibition and conference of technologies, equipment and services for the Latin America Naval Defense Industry.

The ceremonial ribbon to open Expo Naval was cut by Chile's Minister of Defense, Jaime Ravinet, who said Expo Naval offers the gathered countries an opportunity to work together to keep the seas free for all to enjoy maritime trade.

"Piracy has become a very real threat to those who participate in maritime trade," Ravinet said. "Chile's will is to cooperate internationally in keeping markets open."

SPS is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility in the Caribbean and Latin America involving information sharing with navies, coast guards and civilian services throughout the region.

Commander, U.S. Navy Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO) is the naval component command for U.S. Southern Command and is responsible for all naval personnel and assets in the area of responsibility. COMUSNAVSO conducts a variety of missions in support of the U.S. Maritime Strategy, including Theater Security Cooperation, relationship building, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, community relations, and counter-illicit trafficking operations.

For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/. 

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Jeffery Tilghman Williams, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs

VALPARAISO, Chile (December 1, 2010) Cmdr. Mark Becker, mission commander for SPS 2011, stands on the flight deck of the HSV 2 Swift with a Chinese delegation and other dignitaries during a underway tour of Valparaiso Bay. (l-r) Lt. j.g. Steven Rockwell, Cmdr. Lui Kui, Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Howard Leroy, Senior Capt. Liu Dongyue, Senior Capt. Liu Qingyu, Cmdr. Mark Becker, Director of the Naval Academy of Armament Rear Admiral Zhao Yongfu, Lt.j.g. Adam Cole, Senior Capt. Ye Xiqing, Logistics Specialist 1st Class Danilo Advincula and Senior Capt. Li Shaoyan. (Photo provided by Mark Becker)