2012-05-25

SOCSOUTH and Nicaragua Participate in Training Exchange

Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) assigned to SEAL Team 18 work with Nicaraguan forces during a boat interdiction exercise May 9, 2012, along the coast of Chinandega, Nicaragua. (Photo: SOCSOUTH)

Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) assigned to SEAL Team 18 work with Nicaraguan forces during a boat interdiction exercise May 9, 2012, along the coast of Chinandega, Nicaragua. (Photo: SOCSOUTH)

Sgt. 1st Class Alex Licea, Special Operations Command South

Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) assigned to SEAL Team-18, in support of Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH), participated in a Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) event in Nicaragua from April 15 to May 15.

JCETs allow U.S. Special Operations Forces to train and hone their skills in foreign nations. This event also allowed the SWCC members to train and exchange techniques with Nicaraguan military members.

U.S. and Nicaraguan troops routinely train and work together, but this event marked the first time in several years that the U.S. crewmen participated in a formal military exchange program inside Nicaragua’s borders.

This joint exercise allowed the SWCC and members of Nicaragua’s Naval Special Operation Detachment and Special Operations Command to train together and exchange military tactics and ideas. These types of exchanges help U.S. Special Operations Forces maintain their combat readiness while enhancing bilateral relations and interoperability with partner nations through improved military-to-military contacts.

This exchange greatly benefited the Nicaraguan troops in learning new techniques as they protect the nation from the threat of Transnational Organized Crime.

“From the start of this [JCET], we have been training for real-life situations which will help us deter and combat threats such as narcotrafficking and organized crime,” said Nicaraguan 1st Lt. Vicente Roberto Baltodano. “This experience has been very good for us because we have learned critical combat skills, such as first aid, communications, and how to conduct boat interdictions. These are tools that will help us protect our nation from these threats. We have a great amount of respect for them [U.S. military], and it has been a good exchange between us.”

Throughout the four-week training, SWCC trained on critical skills such as water survival, tactical casualty combat care, communications, basic maritime navigation, boat handling maneuvers on small tactical boats, weapons familiarization, and tactical boat operations.

“One of the main goals coming into this event was to help us increase our skills and help them [Nicaraguan military] increase their interoperability,” said a senior SWCC member. “These types of skills will help them protect their borders and waterways.”

The exchange allowed U.S. service members to build upon the strong military partnerships between the two nations.

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