Guyana, US Optimize Joint Military Training
By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo July 26, 2021
Brigadier Godfrey Bess, Guyana Defence Force (GDF) chief of Staff, and U.S. Army Brigadier General Lynn M. Heng, Land Component commander for the Nebraska Army National Guard, agreed to strengthen military training between the two armed forces, during a ceremony at Camp Ayanganna Military Base in Guyana, on July 7, 2021.
“That is what Guyana and the United States share: a strong, healthy, respectful, and valuable relationship,” Guyanese President Irfaan Ali said at the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown on July 8. “We look forward to the continued support of the United States in safeguarding our democracy and our territorial integrity.”
“The Guyana Defence Force is ready to receive training in several priority areas, including noncommissioned officer development programs, training support, and military education,” the GDF said in a press release.
Officers from both countries analyzed the possibility for troops of the Nebraska National Guard and U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH) to take part in certified jungle and amphibian courses at the Colonel Robert Mitchell Jungle and Amphibious Training School in Makouria, located on the banks of the Essequibo River.
At the meeting, Brig. Bess suggested that GDF members should receive assignments as liaison officers in United Nations missions, and he proposed enlisting a high-level delegation for exchange programs. The GDF added that Brig. Gen. Heng, who is also ARSOUTH’s director of National Guard Affairs, promised ARSOUTH’s support to the GDF for military development, “which will enable the force to achieve its constitutionally established goals,” the statement said.
The two countries formalized the agreements 12 days following the conclusion of Tradewinds 2021, the U.S. Southern Command- (SOUTHCOM) sponsored annual multinational exercise in the Caribbean, which Guyana hosted on June 11-26. Military contingents from 12 countries took part in Tradewinds to improve interoperability in case of natural disaster and other threats in the Caribbean, SOUTHCOM indicated on its web page.
Brig. Bess said on Facebook that “the [Tradewinds] exercise had [not only] been a complete success, with no casualties or serious injuries, but it [also] provided a training environment with a high degree of professionalism.” The tactical and operational exercise “was a demonstration of our shared commitment to partnership in the face of shared challenges, and in pursuit of common goals,” President Ali added.