SOUTHCOM Honors Chilean Marine Captain
By Dialogo February 04, 2014
As his two-year tour as a Partner Nation Liaison Officer (PNLO) representing Chile at U.S. Southern Command comes to an end, Marine Captain Claudio Escalona was honored with a Joint Service Commendation Medal at an award ceremony on January 31.
SOUTHCOM Commander, U.S. Marine General John F. Kelly, who presided over the ceremony and presented the award, recognized Cap. Escalona’s leadership and devotion to duty as “critical to advancing issues of major importance to the United States and Chile.”
“Cap. Escalona distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious service,” said the General, including providing Chilean officials invaluable insights into mutual United States and Chilean Military issues, resulting in enhanced understanding, vital to strengthening the partnership between the two countries.”
For his part, Cap. Escalona, thanked SOUTHCOM, Gen. Kelly, his PNLO counterparts from Peru, Colombia, Canada and Brazil, the Chilean Consulate and all the other civilian and military personnel who supported him in his mission.
In addition to listing some of the important events he supported and took part in since his arrival in 2012, Cap. Escalona mentioned that he identified early on that his main duties were to “represent [his] culture and people, and send the message that we are part of this beautiful region, and we can contribute to the improvements of the living conditions of our nations.”
Cap. Escalona made a special mention to the outstanding performance of Marine Forces South and Joint Special Forces South, as they supported the process of passing on experiences and lessons learned to the new Chilean Joint Staff in terms of command and control programs, information operations, Joint Special Forces training and participation in multinational exercises.
In his conclusion, the Chilean Marine Captain mentioned that Chile is honored to have received the opportunity to host Partnership of the Americas 2014 and Unitas 2015.
SOUTHCOM established the PNLO Program in 1998, with the focus of establishing links with U.S. partner nations in Central and South America and the Caribbean that would serve as a conduit to foster a better understanding of mission and tactics, facilitate the ability to integrate and synchronize operations, assist in the transfer of vital information, enhance mutual trust, and develop an increased level of teamwork.
Many thanks, friends of U.S. Southcom. I will always be ready to assist you with whatever you think appropriate, and you'll be on my mind. God bless you.