News: SOCSOUTH and Uruguayan build bonds through training exchange
Story by Master Sgt. Larry Carpenter
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay - In support of Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH), Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen attached to Naval Special Warfare Group 4, participated in a Joint Combined Exchange Training event in Uruguay, May 15 to June 15.
This was the first time a training event of this scope has been conducted with Uruguay and NSW in about 20 years. Although, there have been other, smaller training venues such as UNITAS, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored naval exercise, within that time period.
These specialized U.S. military personnel had the opportunity to sharpen their skills and swap techniques during the month-long JCET with the Uruguayan Sección de Reconocimiento (SECRON) of Fusileros Navales (FUSNA), Uruguayan Coast Guard and Special Operations Police. During the four weeks of training, they worked on honing their special tactics techniques in order to increase their ability to conduct missions more effectively. By working together, they were able to learn from each other and function as a more proficient unit.
“We hope that they go back to their respective units and they show their guys what we trained on, or at least the basics so that everybody has a working knowledge of what everyone does and that way they can operate better,” said a Petty Officer Special Operations Medic.
According to the executive officer of the FUSNA, the main goal he wanted was that his men gain a better grasp of how to perform counter illicit trafficking, which is a big part of their mission.
Working with the FUSNA and SECRON guys has been awesome, they are eager and hard working,” said the Special Operations Medic.
All participants received the opportunity to learn from this experience by being able to share information with each other and learn from each other’s real-world experiences.
“It’s a big ego boost for us to be able to do this with the Americans and it’s good for morale,” said a SECRON boat operator. “I would like to see something become of this, so that it doesn’t end right here, so we can improve our capacity in the future.”
The training included a three-day class on tactical combat casualty care, water navigation techniques, vessel boarding techniques, and infiltration and extraction methods. It concluded with a Field Training Exercise (FTX) in the form of a simulated mission, which continued the exchange of training techniques and mutual enhancement of military professionalism. In addition, the FTX was observed by members of the Uruguayan Department of Defense and Congress, who stated they were very impressed with the caliber of training.
JCETs are frequently conducted by SOCSOUTH throughout the Caribbean and Central and South Americas at the request of partner nations in order to enhance bilateral relations and interoperability through military-to-military contacts and are a valuable tool in the command’s Theater Security Cooperation program.