News: Fuerzas Comando 2011 kicks off in El Salvador
Story by Spc. Casey Collier
ILOPANGO, El Salvador — The opening ceremony for Fuerzas Comando 2011 took place today at the Special Counter-Terrorism Command operations center in Ilopongo, outside San Salvador.
Fuerzas Comando, established in 2004, is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored special operations skills competition and senior leader seminar which is conducted annually in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
This year’s competition consists of sniper, assault, physical fitness, strength and endurance events.
The ceremony opened with remarks of appreciation and praise from U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Thomas L. Brown II, the commander of Special Operations Command South.
“I would like to thank the 24 countries represented in this ceremony as competitors, observers and judges participating in this special operations competition,” said Brown. “You represent the world’s finest warriors, sacrificing daily to defend and protect the freedom and security of the citizens of the Western Hemisphere.”
Ecuador earned last year’s first-place trophy, and ceremoniously passed it back to competition officials during this year’s observance of opening day.
As always, competition for the coveted Fuerzas Comando first-place honor is fierce, and promises to show that throughout the nine-day grueling contest.
Although Fuerzas Comando is consistently described as “the military Olympics,” and lends itself to the same competitive spirit - Chief of the General Staff of the El Salvadoran army, Cesar Adonay Acosta Bonilla stressed the importance of fellowship and solidarity amidst the Pan-American Nations.
“Events like this one are a clear message that we are united to fight against the challenges and untraditional threats that terrify our nations and that we have identified in several forums,” said Bonilla.
He then wished the competitors well, and the ceremony was drawn to a close.
As the field disassembled, teams were already stretching their muscles for the first event.