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    Commander of Colombian Navy Honored as NAVSCIATTS 2016 Distinguished Alumni

    Commander of Colombian Navy Honored as NAVSCIATTS 2016 Distinguished Alumni

    Photo By Leah Tolbert | 170717-N-JK586-011 TAMPA, Fla. - Gen. Raymond A. Thomas III, commander of U.S. Special...... read more read more

    TAMPA, Fla. – The Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School, located at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, recently honored Vice Adm. Ernesto Durán González, commander of the Colombian National Navy, with its 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award.

    Gen. Raymond A. Thomas III, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, presented the fourth annual award at a 17 July ceremony at USSOCOM headquarters on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, with NAVSCIATTS and SOCOM staff along with other international delegates in attendance.

    NAVSCIATTS established the Distinguished Alumni program in 2013 in conjunction with the international training center’s 50th anniversary. The program recognizes specific accomplishments of NAVSCIATTS graduates who achieve strategic military or law enforcement agency positions within their countries that influence the network of international relationships that have proven beneficial in countering global issues such as extremism, piracy, drug trafficking and other criminal activities.

    "Vice Admiral Duran is a perfect example of the importance of these relationships," explained Thomas, former commander of Joint Special Operations Command. "He has served with distinction for more than 33 years in various key positions within the Colombian Navy. He embodies the NAVSCIATTS motto of ‘Stronger Together,’ and I look forward to an ongoing and ever-strengthening relationship between Colombia, the United States and USSOCOM."

    Durán first attended the Patrol Craft Commanders’ Course in 1989, when NAVSCIATTS was located at the U.S. Naval Station in Rodman, Panama. In June 2016, he was the guest speaker for the Strategic Leaders International Course gradation and spoke about his successful use of NAVSCIATTS’ network of global partners.

    Durán described how he has applied what he learned at NAVSCIATTS many times during the course of his career. “At the schoolhouse, we benefited from many fundamental lessons that were based on years of experience and lessons learned, some of which were written in the blood of our shipmates who had been injured or lost,” he explained. “By studying and learning together, we all had the chance to apply this knowledge to our lives in both war and at sea.”

    “One of the greatest benefits of these endeavors is great friendships that are forged forever,” the commander reiterated regarding the importance of relationships. “These friendships later facilitate the hard work we all face every day. The United States and Colombia have a tradition of fighting together against the same enemies. We have common problems and we are joined by a friendship, a history, and many experiences where together, we do things superbly. As we continue to work together, the whole will far surpass the sum of its parts,” he concluded in remarks to those in attendance.

    In addition to recognizing the accomplishments of NAVSCIATTS graduates, the Distinguished Alumni Award serves as a conduit in the maintenance of strategic relationships within the network of global partners. “Vice Admiral Durán has effectively used his position throughout his impressive career to strengthen and expand the network of global partners in order to better counter the mutually destabilizing threats we face today,” said Cmdr. Clay Pendergrass, commanding officer of NAVSCIATTS. "We are truly honored to be able to recognize a career of outstanding achievements that he has demonstrated.”

    “There is almost no problem in the world today that can be solved alone,” added Pendergrass, a 28-year U.S. Navy veteran. “It is in the spirit of hard work, achievement and commitment to sharing that we all look forward to a new generation of leadership to follow in Vice Admiral Durán’s footsteps, as NAVSCIATTS continues to train future leaders from more than 110 partner nations.”

    Vice Adm. Durán has degrees in oceanography and environmental engineering from the Industrial University of Santender, Colombia, and holds a specialization in geographic information systems from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a master’s degree in National Security and Defense from the Colombian War College. The newly-named distinguished alumni has served as an operational commander on national sovereignty development missions, scientific research, counter drug trafficking and smuggling, among other global crime-fighting missions at sea during his illustrious career.

    NAVSCIATTS currently offers 20 courses of instruction with an average of nearly 1,000 international military and law enforcement agency personnel graduating from in-resident and mobile training events annually. NAVSCIATTS trains and educates partner nation special operations forces, SOF-like forces and SOF enablers in order to strengthen partner nation capabilities in order to develop, shape and maintain strategic relationships with diverse partner forces.

    Since 1963, more than 11,500 students from 110 partner nations have graduated from NAVSCIATTS, which specializes in mobile and in-resident training across the tactical, operational and strategic spectrums. The Security Cooperation schoolhouse operates under USSOCOM in support of the Foreign Security Assistance and Geographic Combatant Commands’ Theater Security Cooperation priorities.

    For more information on NAVSCIATTS’ history and courses offered, visit



    Date Taken: 08.02.2017
    Date Posted: 08.02.2017 11:40
    Story ID: 243401
    Location: TAMPA, FL, US 

    Web Views: 274
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