“Alone we are strong, together, we are Invincible.” Every senior military leader who spoke during the closing ceremony of PANAMAX 2022, held August 11 at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, uttered this phrase, including host U.S. Army General Laura J. Richardson, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).
“We need to keep up all these relationships we’ve established during PANAMAX. They don’t stop here. They’ve only just begun. And we have got to keep the relationships. And everybody is to go back to your countries, back to your units, to your organizations, and spread the word. You spread the word about the goodness of this team right here and what this team accomplished, because it’s phenomenal. It’s really tremendous what you all accomplished,” Gen. Richardson said.
“Allow me to express our gratitude for your able leadership, spirit of cooperation, and commitment. This is our livelihood. And as such, it is our responsibility to engage, interact, share, learn, protect a solid coalition through valuable experiences accumulated during our work at the headquarters of U.S. Southern Command in Miami, Homestead Air Force Reserve Base, and Naval Station Mayport, all in Florida; MacDill Air Force Base, in Arizona, and where we are gathered today, Fort Sam Houston, Texas,” expressed Chilean Army Major General Ricardo Stangher Quivira, Logistics Division commander and deputy commanding general of Multinational Force South for PANAMAX 2022, and deputy commanding general at U.S. Army South, which hosted a big portion of PANAMAX 2022, a SOUTHCOM-sponsored multinational exercise.
Long-term security of the Panama Canal
“It has been an absolute pleasure to have you here as a part of PANAMAX 2022, an exercise aimed at reinforcing and enhancing the long-term security of the Panama Canal and the Western Hemisphere,” said U.S. Army Major General William Thigpen, Commanding General of U.S. Army South. “To all of our partner nations, it has been extremely humbling to watch this exercise unfold. To see 19 countries come together for a common cause… it’s been phenomenal to watch it, be a part of it, and lead it. This is a great opportunity to train together, build interoperability and really strengthen our partnerships,” he said.
More than 1,500 U.S. and nearly 500 military personnel from Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, and Uruguay participated in this iteration of the exercise. PANAMAX 2022 uses communications themes and operational understanding between joint, combined, and interagency operations in order to increase interoperability by emphasizing common interests and establish cooperative solutions through comprehensive and integrated responses to simulated transnational threats in the region.
Aiming for the same objective
“The main goal of PANAMAX is to strengthen the bonds of camaraderie, fraternity, mutual support, to know who our partners are, the partner nations, to create bonds of trust with each other. This is very important and when we start working together on the same problem, which are threats to peace, security, and democracy, we see that everyone is aiming for the same objective… This is what will enable us to strengthen the bonds of friendship, fraternity, camaraderie, and loyalty,” said Brazilian Army Major General Rodrigo Ferraz Silva, commander of the 12th Light Infantry Brigade (Airborne), who served as the commander of the Combined Force Land Component Command in multinational exercise PANAMAX 2022.
“This right here is integrated deterrence. We have to work together as a team because those threats are out there. We have transnational criminal organizations. They stir the pot with insecurity and instability, narcotrafficking, human trafficking, illegal fishing, illegal logging, illegal mining, and counterfeit goods. It’s not good. That creates a wedge for Chinese and for Russian disinformation. We have got to get after the threads together. We are doing that,” Gen. Richardson concluded.