Guatemalan military reserves assist civilians during natural disasters

By Dialogo
November 20, 2014




Every Sunday, about 2,700 Guatemalan army reservists report to their barracks to prepare for their weekend military training, which focuses on physical exercise, firearms practice, and how to provide humanitarian assistance.

This goes on for 11 months out of the year, excluding December. It’s extensive training that indicates just how important humanitarian assistance is to the Army’s mission.

Reserve soldiers team with security forces to assist the civilian population during natural disasters by helping to provide medical care, assist in the evacuations of injured people and secure buildings to prevent looting.

For example, reservists helped civilians impacted by the July 7 earthquake in the municipality of San Marcos, which killed one person, injured 274 others and damaged about 9,000 apartments and homes. Reserve soldiers from the Department of San Marcos coordinated their efforts with Army units and officials of the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) to help remove rubble from structures damaged by the 6.4-magnitude earthquake. They also helped distribute food and water to earthquake victims.

Army reserves play an important role in safeguarding the civilian population

“I'm conscious of the importance that this unit has for the country, and the role it should carry out for society as a whole,” according to Col. Francisco Roberto Pérez Samayoa, commander of Guatemala’s Military Reserves.

Reservists support the Guatemalan Army


Currently, Guatemala has 2,700 reservists. They’re divided into 22 command centers, one for each Department in the country, with headquarters in the capital of each Department.

Reservists receive training at the squad level, which is comprised of 10 reserve soldiers, and at the detachment level, which includes 30 to 40 reservists. There, they learn how to conduct security patrols, disarm criminal suspects, map reading, first aid, and military maneuvers. They also learn to help civilians during natural disasters so that they can participate in Humanitarian Response Units (HRUs).

Unlike regular Army soldiers, reservists are not full time members of the military. They are civilians who come from all walks of life. Their ranks include professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, college students, and blue-collar workers, like plumbers and carpenters.

“We have a wide variety of persons here within the military reserves: there are people who have not had the support or the opportunity to reach a level of education, up to full professionals,” said Col. Enrique Juchuña .


Because they are part of the community, reserve soldiers help build a rapport between the military and the civilian population.

“The members of the public [who] join the reserves should serve as communications vessels between public forces and their communities in order to generate local responses in the case of an increase in violence,” said retired Col. Mario Mérida.

A history of helping the civilian population


The Military Reserves command unit of Guatemala has been helping protect the civilian population since it was created by a presidential decree on September 10, 1954. Women joined the ranks of reservists in 1976.

The Military Reserves accepts applications from people who are between the ages of 18 and 29.

The Headquarters Command of the Military Reserves is responsible for providing trained reserve soldiers to support regular Army units respond to emergency situations, such as public disasters, and to help in military operations if needed. When they are mobilized, reserve solders are sent to rendezvous centers located throughout the country to coordinate with Army units.

In addition to assisting the Army during natural disasters, reserve soldiers are also trained to work, when needed, in Public Security units. They also serve on United Nations peacekeeping missions.

The 2,700 reservists who are training in 2014 will join those who have already completed their training. Overall, the Guatemalan Armed Forces includes 22,000 soldiers, 2,000 military police agents, 900 sailors and 750 Air Force members.



Every Sunday, about 2,700 Guatemalan army reservists report to their barracks to prepare for their weekend military training, which focuses on physical exercise, firearms practice, and how to provide humanitarian assistance.

This goes on for 11 months out of the year, excluding December. It’s extensive training that indicates just how important humanitarian assistance is to the Army’s mission.

Reserve soldiers team with security forces to assist the civilian population during natural disasters by helping to provide medical care, assist in the evacuations of injured people and secure buildings to prevent looting.

For example, reservists helped civilians impacted by the July 7 earthquake in the municipality of San Marcos, which killed one person, injured 274 others and damaged about 9,000 apartments and homes. Reserve soldiers from the Department of San Marcos coordinated their efforts with Army units and officials of the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) to help remove rubble from structures damaged by the 6.4-magnitude earthquake. They also helped distribute food and water to earthquake victims.

Army reserves play an important role in safeguarding the civilian population

“I'm conscious of the importance that this unit has for the country, and the role it should carry out for society as a whole,” according to Col. Francisco Roberto Pérez Samayoa, commander of Guatemala’s Military Reserves.

Reservists support the Guatemalan Army


Currently, Guatemala has 2,700 reservists. They’re divided into 22 command centers, one for each Department in the country, with headquarters in the capital of each Department.

Reservists receive training at the squad level, which is comprised of 10 reserve soldiers, and at the detachment level, which includes 30 to 40 reservists. There, they learn how to conduct security patrols, disarm criminal suspects, map reading, first aid, and military maneuvers. They also learn to help civilians during natural disasters so that they can participate in Humanitarian Response Units (HRUs).

Unlike regular Army soldiers, reservists are not full time members of the military. They are civilians who come from all walks of life. Their ranks include professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, college students, and blue-collar workers, like plumbers and carpenters.

“We have a wide variety of persons here within the military reserves: there are people who have not had the support or the opportunity to reach a level of education, up to full professionals,” said Col. Enrique Juchuña .


Because they are part of the community, reserve soldiers help build a rapport between the military and the civilian population.

“The members of the public [who] join the reserves should serve as communications vessels between public forces and their communities in order to generate local responses in the case of an increase in violence,” said retired Col. Mario Mérida.

A history of helping the civilian population


The Military Reserves command unit of Guatemala has been helping protect the civilian population since it was created by a presidential decree on September 10, 1954. Women joined the ranks of reservists in 1976.

The Military Reserves accepts applications from people who are between the ages of 18 and 29.

The Headquarters Command of the Military Reserves is responsible for providing trained reserve soldiers to support regular Army units respond to emergency situations, such as public disasters, and to help in military operations if needed. When they are mobilized, reserve solders are sent to rendezvous centers located throughout the country to coordinate with Army units.

In addition to assisting the Army during natural disasters, reserve soldiers are also trained to work, when needed, in Public Security units. They also serve on United Nations peacekeeping missions.

The 2,700 reservists who are training in 2014 will join those who have already completed their training. Overall, the Guatemalan Armed Forces includes 22,000 soldiers, 2,000 military police agents, 900 sailors and 750 Air Force members.
My country of Guatemala has such pretty vistas. Happy end of the year, Guatemala I congratulate and bless the Guatemalan reservists and keep helping our people in difficult times GOD IS GREAT AND HAVE MERCY ON ALL THE SOULS AND REPENT.
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