CENTAM Guardian 2023 (CG23) officially kicked-off with an opening ceremony including Guatemalan, Honduran, Salvadoran, and U.S. Forces on March 18 in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
CENTAM Guardian is an annual U.S. Army South-led, joint, multinational exercise which takes place at various locations in Central America and the Caribbean. The exercise addresses common security threats, further develops information sharing among the multinational coordination cell, and reinforces regional stability and interoperability with allied forces.
The opening ceremony included the Arkansas Army National Guard Land Component Commander Brigadier General Leland Shepherd; U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) J7/9 Director of Exercises and Coalition Affairs Kevin Bostick; Guatemalan Deputy Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Defense Brigadier General Ardany Bautista Fuentes; and Guatemalan Army Colonel Raul Anibal Pineda Penate of the Guatemalan Armed Forces’ Regional Peacekeeping Operations Training Command.
“As a military member, I can say that there’s nothing like being in this training exercise. I want to thank the U.S. military for their support and the training skills our military is gaining. This training proves that the U.S. military and other surrounding countries have good intentions to keep moving forward and stop all threats affecting the world,” Brig. Gen. Bautista said addressing participants.
CG23 brings military advisors and interagency partners from around the U.S. to Guatemala for training with Guatemalan, Honduran, and Salvadoran military partners to enhance multi-domain rapid response security operations and to strengthen hemispheric cooperation and collaboration between military/security forces in the SOUTHCOM’s Area of Responsibility (AOR).
Soldiers and interagency partners conducting the exercise will employ specific occupational skills such as special operations, naval warfare, military intelligence, K-9 handlers, cyber warfare, medics, civil affairs, aviation and support personnel, in real world based scenarios for partner nation militaries to exercise, assess, and update tactics and procedures.
Brig. Gen. Shepherd ended his comments by saying, “The training opportunities associated with CENTAM Guardian create a legacy of partnerships and help establish personal relationships that will go on for years to come. They enable us to meet any challenge and continue to build trust together, counter threats together, and build our teams together.”
Phase one of CG23 will end after the culminating exercise and closing ceremony on March 28.