Some of the key pillars of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) are inter-service, inter-agency, and multinational integration as part of our educational process. To that extent, WHINSEC’s leadership is always seeking ways to continue to expand its reach across sister services, other governmental entities, and partner nations.
In 2020, during the Command and General Staff Officer Course, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Lieutenant Nathan M. Borders became the first “Coastie” (as USCG members call themselves) to attend WHINSEC.
This year, USCG Petty Officer Third Class Marty Alves Cruz became the first enlisted Coastie to attend as a student, as he became part of the Small Unit Leadership Course.
“Our unit Master Chief sent an email, with information about the course and telling us that it was a great opportunity for us to take this class. This class could be a stepping-stone for future petty officer courses, or chief petty officer courses,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Alves.
Talking about the course and being a USCG member, Petty Officer 3rd Class Alves had this to comment: “Being from the Coast Guard is totally different in a way, but still, the only thing that changes is the mission. We carry the same doctrine; we all have the rules, regulations; only the mission changes. This course is a great opportunity to meet and work with folks from other countries, U.S. sister services.”
In attendance at the Combined Graduation was USCG Command Master Chief Aaron L. Zimmer, command master chief Seventh District, based in Miami, Florida. Command Master Chief Zimmer wanted to personally congratulate Petty Officer 3rd Class Alves on his accomplishment, and at the same time, get his impressions of the course and the experience as a whole.
When asked his thoughts on having Coast Guard members at WHINSEC, Command Master Chief Zimmer said, “It is a magnificent opportunity for our young enlisted. I find the human rights, rule of law, and the leadership blocks of instruction are essential in our line of work. Today, we have our first enlisted Coastie here, but many more will come to learn and share experiences at WHINSEC. We operate in an increasingly complex and joint environment within Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean Basin. The earlier in a career we can expose service members to other services and partner nations, the more effective the total force becomes.”