SOCSOUTH and Trinidad and Tobago Partners Participate in Training Exchange
By Dialogo August 13, 2013
Renowned as a Caribbean vacation spot, the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago is surrounded by stunning beaches and great weather all year around.
However, the country has been affected by the regional challenge of illicit trafficking over the past several years. It is a concern that their government officials have acknowledged as a threat to security in the island.
With this threat in mind, Trinidad and Tobago officials welcomed an elite group of “Green Berets” from the U.S. Army 20th Special Forces Group as part of a four-week Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) Program in July.
The JCET allowed members of the 20th SF Group to gain regional knowledge and improve their coaching abilities while exchanging methods and maneuvers with members of Trinidad and Tobago’s Special Naval Unit (SNU) and Special Forces Operation Detachment (SFOD).
JCETs also benefit U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) because they allow their personnel to train in partner nations, like Trinidad and Tobago, and develop their military tactics and skills in unfamiliar settings, while also improving bilateral relations and interoperability with partner nation militaries.
JCETs are part of the Special Operations Command Theater Security Cooperation program. The program enables partner nations to better protect their borders and increase their capacity to conduct special operations. SOCSOUTH is responsible for all U.S. Special Operations activities in the Caribbean, Central and South America and serves as a component of U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Southern Command.
This JCET is also significant because it was the first time in four years that a training event of this magnitude has been coordinated with the SNU, and the first time ever training with the SFOD.
“These guys were very receptive to what we trained; they showed genuine passion for their nation, and we are confident that they will continue to train hard and get better,” said a U.S. SOF team member.
During the program, they sharpened their military skills by conducting combat casualty care, 100- and 200-meter swim tests, pistol and rifle shooting, small unit tactics training, and small movement groups training. The JCET concluded with a Culmination Exercise in the form of interdiction operations against simulated organized crime organzations and extremist elements.
According to the executive officer of the U.S. SOF team, JCETs like this help to increase the capabilities of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force to conduct operations Countering Transnational Organized Crime and deter illicit traffickers from their national borders and waterways.
“Working with the Americans motivated us to be on top of our game. We wanted to show them that we are just as passionate for our country as they are for theirs,” said a Trinidad and Tobago SNU team member.
SOCSOUTH planners hope to continue a strong working relationship with their partners in the coming months and hold similar events in the near future.