USSOUTHCOM Bids Farewell to Partner Nation Liaison Officers

USSOUTHCOM Bids Farewell to Partner Nation Liaison Officers

By Dialogo
June 20, 2011

To mark the end of their assignment as Partner Nation Liaison Officers (PNLOs) representing Colombia, Uruguay, and Canada, General Douglas Fraser, Commander of the U.S. Southern Command, presided over an award ceremony on 17 June to honor the departing officers.

“Having the Partner Nation Liaison Officers in SOUTHCOM allows us to recognize the partnerships we have and represents the importance of our partnerships,” said Gen. Fraser as he presented a Joint Service Meritorious Award to each of the departing country representatives.

Captain Hugo M. De Barros, of the Uruguayan Navy, served SOUTHCOM from July 2009 to July 2011and was instrumental in furthering military relations between the United States and the Republic of Uruguay. Cpt. De Barros expertly assisted the SOUTHCOM Commander with strategic-level visits by the Uruguayan Government and Ministry of Defense to the United States and provided vital assessment on Uruguayan strategic posture.

“For an old sailor like me, who is sailing the last miles in his career, this recognition has a huge emotional impact,” said Cpt. De Barros upon receipt of his award. “I have found I started referring to SOUTHCOM as ‘us’ instead of ‘you all’.”

Gen. Fraser highlighted that Cpt. De Barros is a third-generation sailor and belongs to the only Uruguayan family to have four consecutive generations serve their country’s Navy, with his son currently serving as Lieutenant at the Uruguayan Navy.

Colonel Oscar O. Lopez of the Colombian Army served as PNLO from July 2010 to July 2011, and distinguished himself by providing valuable insight to the military strategies of both countries, ‎resulting in enhanced ‎mutual understanding vital to the strengthening of the partnership between the United States and Colombia against Counter-Illicit Trafficking and Narco-Terrorism.‎

“It was your perspective and willingness to share and tell us how we can improve our participation in helping Colombia’s fight against the FARC, that makes the difference to us,” commended Gen. Fraser, upon presenting Col. Lopez’s award.

“The enormous support you [SOUTHCOM] give us [Colombia] positions you as one of our strongest allies and a great friend,” said Col. Lopez.

Lieutenant Colonel James D. Waddell, of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command, was the longest serving PNLO at SOUTHCOM, serving in Miami since September 2006 to July 2011.

“Lt. Col. Waddell welcomed me to SOUTHCOM,” said Gen. Fraser. “He is one of the longest serving members at the Command, even more so than many of our U.S. servicemen.”

“I have dedicated close to 25 percent of my military career to working with the U.S. Military. …My experience during the last five years in SOUTHCOM has been wonderful; it has been an education, both professional and personal,” acknowledged Lt. Col. Waddell.

In addition to SOUTHCOM personnel, the families of all three representatives were in attendance to bid them farewell, along with Consul General of Colombia Alvaro Gallardo and representative of the Canadian consul, Mr. Paul Cunningham.