Canada’s recent participation in the 38th iteration of Operation Tradewinds met the country’s goals for strengthening bonds with allied militaries, deepening its knowledge of the Caribbean and increasing the interoperability of the Canadian Armed Forces with those of 20 other nations, according to the Canadian Department of National Defence.
Tradewinds, a two-week multinational exercise that took place in July in Guyana, involved more than 1,500 participants, including military, civilians and law enforcement personnel, according to a news release from U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).
The exercise focused on maritime interdiction, ground security, and field training.
Events included jungle certification; airborne wing exchange; oil spill and flood simulation; human rights training; and instruction related to the Women, Peace, and Security initiative, according to the release.
Participants trained across Guyana, in Georgetown, Camp Ayanganna, Camp Stephenson, Camp Seweyo, Air Base London, the Guyana Police Academy, and the Jungle Amphibious Training School in Makouria.
The Canadian detachment of about 20 soldiers participated in operational planning and disaster assistance, according to a Canadian National Defence video.
Lieutenant Colonel Steven Hale, who led the detachment, said the primary goal was to learn more about their Caribbean allies and the geography while educating their counterparts on “Canadian processes.”
“Canada’s real key objectives here are to increase interoperability and enhance our situational awareness in the region,” Lt. Col. Hale said in the video.
Major Marc Coté said he mentored junior officers from the Guyana Defence Force about tactical planning before being assigned to the operations center of the Caribbean Task Force to mentor operations personnel.
Captain Kimberly Ervin said the Canadians mentored other participants on the basics of operational planning.
“Our role has been initially getting them comfortable with how to process that information. And then slowly as the exercise progresses, we’re stepping back and letting them run the show,” Capt. Ervin said.
Guyana, the host country, was also pleased with the outcome.
“Tradewinds 23 demonstrated that when nations unite for a common purpose, we become a better sum of our parts,” said Major Jaime Castillo, Guyana’s lead planner for the exercise, according to the SOUTHCOM release. “This exercise has highlighted the importance of international cooperation, interoperability, and shared responsibility we bear in securing a peaceful and stable world.”
Participating nations included Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“For 38 years, we have gathered to build partner nation capacity, strengthen partnerships, improve interoperability, and promote human rights,” U.S. Army General Laura J. Richardson, SOUTHCOM commander, said during the closing ceremony. “Tradewinds is a multidomain, multidimensional exercise, and it’s no small task to put this exercise together.
“I’d also like to note that this year’s exercise was the most complex in the 38-year history of Tradewinds. Transnational criminal organizations, malign state actors, cybercrime, environmental climate change, and irregular migration continue to grow in scope and intensity, posing a significant challenge to the national security of all of us and the Western Hemisphere.”