United States Southern Command 50 Years of Partnership
By Dialogo April 01, 2013
Sandra Marina/Diálogo Staff
“United States Southern Command” was the new name given in 1963 to the military
combatant command established in Panama in 1941.
Since then, men and women of SOUTHCOM have participated in military exercises with
their counterparts in Central and South America and the Caribbean, lending a hand during
earthquakes and floods, and collaborating during joint operations against transnational
Following is a photographic timeline of some of the command’s most significant
moments in the past 50 years, dedicated to forging a Partnership for the Americas. And the
count goes on!
1963 On June 6, 1963, the U.S. Department of Defense re-designates the
Caribbean Command as U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). During the 1960s, the U.S. Military
emphasis was put on civic action and counterinsurgency programs.
1970 During the 1970s, the U.S. Southern Command offers substantial
humanitarian aid to several countries in Latin America after a series of natural disasters.
Joint military training continues in the region.
1985 In 1985 alone, SOUTHCOM participates in 13 joint training exercises
with Latin American armed forces.
1994 Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) is created as a SOUTHCOM
component to plan, conduct and direct interagency counter drug operations. Based in Key
West, Florida, JIATF-S combines the efforts of all branches of the U.S. Military, U.S. law
enforcement agencies and liaison officers from several countries around the world.
2006 Sixty-nine SOUTHCOM-sponsored medical readiness training exercises are
conducted, offering medical services to about 270,000 people.
2008 SOUTHCOM assists Colombia in setting up conditions to rescue Colombian
and U.S. citizens kidnapped by the FARC, among them former presidential candidate Ingrid
Betancourt and three U.S. Department of Defense contractors.
2010 In response to the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, in
Haiti, SOUTHCOM conducts Operation Unified Response, the biggest foreign disaster mission in
the command’s history. The U.S. Military deploys more than 22,000 personnel to Haiti to save
lives and mitigate suffering.
2012 SOUTHCOM launches Operation Martillo, a U.S., European, and Western
Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters
along the Central American isthmus.
50 Years 22 commanders
November 2012. Gen. John F. Kelly,
June 2009. Gen. Douglas Fraser,
October 2006. Adm. James G. Stavridis,
November 2004. Gen. Bantz J. Craddock,
August 2002. Gen. James T. Hill,
October 2001. Maj. Gen. Gary D. Speer,
September 2000. Gen. Peter Pace,
September 1997. Gen. Charles E. Wilhelm,
June 1996. Gen. Wesley K. Clark,
February 1994. Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey,
November 1990. Gen. George A. Joulwan,
September 1989. Gen. Maxwell R. Thurman,
June 1987. Gen. Frederick F. Woerner,
March 1985. Gen. John R. Galvin,
May 1983. Gen. Paul F. Gorman,
October 1979. Lt. Gen. Wallace H. Nutting,
August 1975. Lt. Gen. Dennis P. McAuliffe,
January 1973. Gen. William B. Rosson,
September 1971. Gen. George V. Underwood,
February 1969. Gen. George R. Mather,
February 1965. Gen. Robert W. Porter,
June 1963. Gen. Andrew P. O’Meara,
The North American presence in our area is very important for the DEMOCRACY. Put aside the everyday rhetoric, that is actually lying to the poor so they can become even more poor and ignorant. Just look at what Cuba does and you get it. This command helps a lot in this stage of international terrorism.