U.S. and Jamaican Military Hone their Skills in Joint Training
By Dialogo October 04, 2012
Located in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, Jamaica is surrounded by beautiful beaches, making it a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Its strategic location also makes it a potential transit point for traffickers to move illegal drugs across the region and into the United States.
During the month of September, U.S. Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen assigned to Special Boat Team – 22, and members of the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School traveled to the island to participate in a Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) with members of the Jamaican Defence Force.
The primary focus of this month-long event, organized by the Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH), was to build a strong partnership with members of the Jamaican Defence Force, hone the military tactics and skills of both forces in unfamiliar settings, as well as improve bilateral relations and interoperability with other militaries.
During the joint training, more than 20 Jamaican service members, mostly from the Army and Coast Guard, had the opportunity to enhance their maritime operations and boat maintenance skills. “It is hard for the [Jamaican] Coast Guard to be tasked to do everything and we can do some of these operations and take the load off of them,” said a Jamaican Army officer, who serves as a troop commander. “We see ourselves in the future being able to do more operations and interdictions in the water.”
As part of SOCSOUTH’s Theater Security Cooperation program, these exercises enable partner nations to increase their capacity to conduct security operations. SOCSOUTH, based in Homestead, Florida, is responsible for all U.S. Special Operations activities in the Caribbean, Central and South America; it serves as a component for U.S. Southern Command.
For U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Piccin, SOCSOUTH country officer for Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, the exchange was vital to further the training of U.S. Naval forces working in the region. “This program allows our [U.S.] forces to get excellent training in the region and it serves as a great benefit for our partner nations to increase their military capacity in a very unique platform where exchanging tactics and procedures benefits everyone involved,” Lt. Col. Piccin said.