U.S. military exercises in February and March
U.S. military personnel carry out a very regular schedule of exercises and training deployments throughout Latin America. Here, based on official releases and press reports, is a glimpse of these activities in February and March, in alphabetical order by country.
- Leading up to the “New Horizons” humanitarian exercise scheduled to take place in the spring, construction equipment and materials are scheduled to being arriving into ports in Belize. The exercise is being overseen by U.S. Southern Command and planned by Air Forces Southern. It will last approximately 90 days and involve construction projects as well as medical service events.
- The U.S. Navy 4th Fleet’s Southern Partnership Station 2013 exercise involves port visits to Belize, Guatemala and Honduras by the USNS Swift, a high-speed catamaran. “The assigned units are focusing on locally identified needs, such as port security, noncommissioned officer professional development, operational risk management, medical readiness, outboard motor maintenance and patrol-craft operation.” In Belize, U.S. Seabees and Riverine Squadron 2 members helped with infrastructure building and training. In Guatemala, the assistance focuses on explosive ordnance disposal teams, as well as improving infrastructure at the Army’s Kaibil base.
- More than 500 personnel from U.S. Army South, U.S. Southern Command and other military units and government agencies deployed to U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as part of an exercise called “Integrated Advance” from Februrary 7–17. The exercise focused on mass migration in the Caribbean and Army South and SOUTHCOM abilities to support the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State in a humanitarian crisis scenario.
- “Joint Task Force Jaguar,” the U.S. Army South Component that will soon hold a “Beyond the Horizon” humanitarian exercise in El Salvador, tested itself in March by conducting a “mass casualty exercise” in Sonsonate. It is designed to simulate the stress caused during a real crisis.
- Members of the U.S. and Honduran militaries, along with Panama’s border service and civilians, carried out a Medical Readiness Training Exercise supported by Southern Command’s Honduras-based Joint Task Force-Bravo component between Feb. 28 and March 1. The exercise sought to test their ability to conduct expeditionary medical operations. Personnel provided medical care to around 1,200 patients in two villages in the Darién region of Panama.
- Operation “Ñepohãno 21” took place in Paraguay from February 16-17 as part of a joint civic-humanitarian action in Cruce Liberación, San Pedro. U.S. military personnel, together with about 220 Paraguayan military and police, offered free medical care including general practice, minor surgery, pediatrics, gynecology, and ophthalmology.
Research for, and some drafting of, this post was carried out by WOLA Intern Elizabeth Glusman.