Brazilian Navy Celebrates Marine Corps’ 211th Anniversary

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro led the ceremony attended by Major General Michael F. Fahey III, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South.
Nelza Oliveira/Diálogo | 8 April 2019

Capacity Building

The ceremony to celebrate the Brazilian Marine Corps’ 211th anniversary took place at the historic São José da Ilha das Cobras Fort, in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo: Nelza Oliveira, Diálogo)

The Brazilian Navy (MB in Portuguese) celebrated the 211th anniversary of the Marine Corps (CFN, in Portuguese) in a military ceremony at the historic São José da Ilha das Cobras Fort, in Rio de Janeiro, March 7, 2019. The ceremony gathered Brazilian and partner nations’ civil and military leaders, including U.S. Marine Corps Major General Michael F. Fahey III, commander of Marine Corps Forces South. Representatives from Chile, Mexico, and Peru also attended the event.

CFN Major General Nélio de Almeida (left) and U.S. Marine Corps Major General Michael F. Fahey III signed a five-year plan to increase knowledge exchanges and joint training opportunities between Brazilian and U.S. marines. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Amy Phan, MARFORSOUTH)

Brazilian Navy General Alexandre José Barreto de Mattos, CFN commander, looked back at CFN’s origins from a contingent of Portugal’s Royal Brigade of the Navy that escorted the royal family to Brazil in 1808 and set up its headquarters the following year at Ilha das Cobras, where it remains. “Today the Marine Corps celebrates its 211th anniversary, consolidated as an amphibious and expeditionary force entirely composed of volunteer service members completely committed to the service, always ready, prepared to carry out any assigned mission with a wide range of activities, when and where national interest requires it,” said Gen. Alexandre. 

Brazil and the United States

Gen. Alexandre mentioned the relevance of exchanges with various partner nations in creating CFN. “This enabled the deployment of a greater number of service members abroad—officers, Naval School cadets, and noncommissioned officers— clearly improving the dissemination of professional knowledge acquired. Such actions are undertaken to expose marines to the latest and greatest developments in various marine corps around the world,” he said.

Days before, MB announced via Twitter that CFN Major General Nélio de Almeida and Maj. Gen. Fahey signed a five-year plan to increase knowledge exchanges and joint training opportunities between the Brazilian and U.S. marines. “The Brazilian Marine Corps and Marine Forces South enjoy a strong relationship characterized by mutual respect, collaboration, and a shared vision in the theater security cooperation arena. My presence at the 211th anniversary of the Brazilian Marine Corps reinforces the United States Marine Corps’ commitment to and fraternal bonds with one of our strongest partners in the region,” Maj. Gen. Fahey told Diálogo.

During the ceremony, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro recognized Brazilian Marine Corps Corporal Gilmário Alerson da Silva Lima with the 2018 Naval Infantryman Excellence in Service Award for displaying high moral and professional standards throughout his career. (Photo: Brazilian Marine Corps Press Office)

“The United States’ bonds with Brazil, in general, and between our two marine forces, in particular, are important because those bonds facilitate cooperation in addressing mutual challenges in our region and around the world. Our partners’ success is our success, and we look forward to celebrating this and future events with them,” said Maj. Gen. Fahey.

Female participation

During the ceremony, authorities gave the Amphibious Medal of Honor to 37 Brazilian service members as outstanding amphibious combatants. Brazilian Marine Corps Corporal Gilmário Alerson da Silva Lima was recognized at the event with the 2018 Naval Infantryman Excellence in Service Award for displaying high moral and professional standards throughout his career.

On the eve of International Women’s Day, Gen. Alexandre pointed out that CFN has three female officers and expects to increase female participation. The officer mentioned the first Peacekeeping Operations Internship for Women, an MB-United Nations (UN) partnership that trained 40 women—including service members from MB and other armed forces, and representatives from civil institutions—to participate in different UN missions, such as in Lebanon, the Western Sahara, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and South Sudan.

“I must add that we are approaching the day when our units will have young, female Marine Corps officers and noncommissioned officers formed at the Naval School and at military training centers. They will follow in the footsteps of the three female officers from CFN’s Noncommissioned Officer Corps, who can be considered female pioneers on the Marine Corps Officers Board. As a matter of fact, this increased female participation is a demand of our times, to which we try to adjust,” said Gen. Alexandre.

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