Marine Corps Training, Advisory Group Partners with Nicaraguan Military
By Dialogo March 30, 2011
A Marine Corps Training and Advisory Group (MCTAG) participated in a joint combat training subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) with members of the Nicaraguan military in support of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2011 at the Corinto Naval Base in Corinto, Nicaragua, 24 March.
Five Marines and a Sailor assigned to the SMEE are part of a five-day cross training evolution with members of the Nicaraguan army and navy special forces units, designed to improve proficiency in hand-to-hand combat, tactical procedures and bayonet maneuvers.
“This SMEE is essential for all service members who may possibly engage in combat, because we’re focusing on the truest essence of combat, which is hand-to-hand combat for survival,” said Marine Staff Sgt. Daniel Monteiro.
MCTAG, operating under U.S. Marine Corps Forces Southern Command, is one of a complement of military teams embarked aboard High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) conducting SMEEs with the Nicaraguan government.
The other SMEEs are related to physical security, medicine, civil affairs, construction, engineering and counter terrorism techniques.
MCTAG’s mission is to build partner nation capacity in support of combatant commanders’ theater security force assistance and security cooperation objectives as designated by respective regional Marine force component commands. During the engagement, scenarios are presented and the service members must react quickly to access the best course of action for countering an attack from an enemy.
“Everyone is benefiting from this training, because regardless of what uniform you wear, you want to be the one to walk away safe if you ever have to apply these tactics,” said Infante Oscar David Lopez, a member of the Nicaraguan navy special forces. “It’s also a good opportunity for us to learn and share information with our American counterparts and continue to build a strong working relationship.”
“The success we’ve experienced with our Nicaraguan counterparts this week is a testament to the commitment these men have to service and country, and it has helped us foster an enduring bond with each other,” said Marine Capt. Raul Melano, SPS 2011 MCTAG officer-in-charge.
U.S. Marine Corps Forces Southern Command commands all Marine forces assigned to U.S. Southern Command; advises the commander on the proper employment and support of Marine forces; conducts deployment/redeployment planning and execution of assigned/attached Marine forces; and accomplishes other operational missions as assigned.
SPS 11 is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to Latin America and the Caribbean. The mission’s primary goal is information-sharing with navies, coast guards and civilian services throughout the region.
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO) is the naval component command for U.S. Southern Command and is responsible for all naval personnel and assets in the area of responsibility. COMUSNAVSO conducts a variety of missions in support of the U.S. maritime strategy, including theater security cooperation, relationship building, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, community relations and counter-illicit trafficking operations.