With the goal of increasing interoperability, U.S. and Brazilian forces gathered in the Brazilian Amazon to carry out exercise Southern Vanguard 24, November 1-16.
For two weeks, U.S. Army soldiers and their Brazilian counterparts carried out air assault operations, urban operations, and weapons familiarization in the rough jungle terrain. The exercise, which brought together 294 U.S. Army service members and 1,200 Brazilian Army (EB) soldiers, in the northern states of Pará and Amapá, seeks to improve combined readiness between participating forces.
“Survival training is important so that we can always have the jungle as our ally. And, for us, it’s a great honor to have the U.S. Army here with us, to work together and show a little of the work we do here in the Amazon region, of our training in jungle areas. This work allows our armies to maintain interoperability, so that we are always working together, building a better world, as a result of our military training,” Colonel Rodrigo Ribeiro, commander of EB’s 2nd Jungle Infantry Battalion, said on EB’s social networks.
This year’s Southern Vanguard, an annual exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) at the operational and tactical levels, saw the participation of soldiers from U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH), the 101st Airborne Division, the 7th Special Forces Group, the 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade, and the U.S. National Guard and New York Army National Guard, Brazil’s state partner.
“The Amazon offers an excellent place to train and prepare personnel to respond to a crisis or contingency. Learning from the Brazilian Army about how they operate in this unforgiving environment allows us to learn the basics of operating and surviving in the jungle,” ARSOUTH Public Affairs said in a statement.
In the first phase, Brazilian soldiers from the 2nd Jungle Infantry Battalion gave their U.S. counterparts a jungle survival and combat course. U.S. service members were immersed in the heat and humidity of the forest and had the opportunity to learn about the fruits and roots of the Amazon that serve as sources of energy for survival, as well as the rich local biodiversity.
U.S. service members learned how to find the best locations, materials, and techniques to build shelters in the Amazon jungle using local plants, how to move around and patrol in the forest, as well as orientation and river techniques.
Another highlight of the exercise was the Women in the Armed Forces Panel, held in Macapá, in Amapá state, bringing together military experts from both countries to discuss the most relevant points about women in military careers.
The crux of the exercise was carried out in the municipalities of Ferreira Gomes, Oiapoque, and the district of Clevelândia do Norte, in the far north of Amapá, with airmobile assault actions with EB helicopters and operations in a jungle environment.
“This opportunity enhances the capabilities and readiness of the U.S. military and the Brazilian Army as we continue to develop our mutual readiness. Strengthening the relationship with the Brazilian Army through this bilateral training exercise will have lasting effects to improve our combined readiness with a valued partner nation,” ARSOUTH said. “With its highly capable military serving as a model of professionalism, Brazil is a key player in enhancing security in the region. The U.S. and Brazilian militaries have operated together since the 1940s, when U.S. and Brazilian military personnel fought side by side during World War II.”