Brazilian Navy Special Operators Train with US Navy SEALs

The Joint Combined Exchange Training took place in Rio de Janeiro, April 16-May 16.
Marcos Ommati/Diálogo | 16 May 2019

Capacity Building

The Joint Combined Exchange Training with special operators of the Brazilian Navy and the U.S. Navy SEALs took place in Rio de Janeiro, between April 16 and May 16, 2019. (Photo: Wagner Assis, Cedro Photos)

The Joint Combined Exchange Training, or JCET, consists of exercises designed to provide training opportunities to special operators from the United States and partner nations. JCETs are always held in countries with which the U.S. Special Forces may have to operate, and expand the range of training of the host nations’ armed forces. Each JCET program typically includes 10 to 40 members of the U.S. Special Forces. The number may eventually go up to 100.

The JCET enables participating units to improve their skills in areas such as short and medium range rifle shooting and includes instruction and training on medium and long-distance sniper techniques. (Photo: Wagner Assis, Cedro Photos)

From April 16 to May 16, the Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese) hosted the JCET in their Rio de Janeiro facilities, which presented an unusual characteristic for this exercise: It gathered members of the Brazilian Navy Combat Divers' Group (GRUMEC, in Portuguese), the Brazilian Marine Corps Special Operations Battalion (Tonelero Battalion), and the United States Navy Sea, Air, and Land Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs. The Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) also participated in the exercise. SWCC operates and maintains a small vessel inventory used in special operations missions, especially those of the Navy SEALs. “This may be the first time this training combines the personnel from these four special units. In previous editions of this exchange, the SEAL teams conducted isolated trainings with GRUMEC and the Tonelero Battalion,” Brazilian Marine Corps First Lieutenant Armindo Melo Peixoto, a member of the Tonelero Battalion, who attended this year’s JCET, told Diálogo. 

Opportunity to interact and learn

“These trainings are an excellent opportunity for our navies to strengthen their long-lasting ties of friendship and cooperation. The interaction, knowledge and experience exchanges allow for improvement of our operators’ capabilities. We expand interoperability and increase the chances of success in future operations and exercises in which Brazil and the U.S. come to join forces in pursuit of common goals,” said Brazilian Marine Corps Colonel Stewart da Paixão Gomes, commander of the Tonelero Battalion, where a large part of the 2019 JCET was completed. 

Specialized training

Special operators conduct target shooting training during the day and at night, with nearly zero visibility, in complex simulations of potential real-life operations. (Photo: Wagner Assis, Cedro Photos)

The training allows participating units to improve their skills in areas such as short and medium range rifle shooting, and includes instruction and training on medium and long-distance sniper techniques, to guarantee maximum security and minimum risk. The JCET also includes training on static and dynamic short-distance shooting techniques with pistol and rifle, combat boat operations techniques (Hurricane model), Over the Beach (OTB) capabilities, Close Quarter Combat (CQC) techniques, Immediate Action Directive (IAD), aerial platform shooting, and freefall jumping operations.

Special operators conduct target shooting training during the day and at night, with nearly zero visibility, in complex simulations of potential real-life operations, to increase decision-making, and strengthen the service members’ confidence when facing highly stressful situations. “The training includes integrating best practices and training, and advising on tactical and operational level planning, exchange of tactics, techniques and procedures to include lessons learned,” said a Navy SEALs special operator sergeant who participated in the Brazil JCET, and chose to remain anonymous, for safety reasons. 

Strengthening existing relationships

“Exchanges such as this JCET are always very well received by the Brazilian Navy. From the first contacts established between SOCSOUTH representatives, ourselves [Tonelero Battalion], and GRUMEC, the Naval Operations Command used resources from the Navy and Fleet Marine Squad to support the training. The plan consisted of five weeks of uninterrupted and intense work — days, nights, weekends, and holidays. All parties were completely committed and all training goals were met,” Col. Stewart said.

This training is part of a series of engagements scheduled in 2018, creating opportunities for elite units of the U.S. and Brazil to work together, to learn from one another, and to strengthen existing relationships. “The JCET demonstrates the strong partnership between the U.S. and Brazil based on mutual respect and shared interests in the region. The training exchange carried out by U.S. and Brazilian units gives participants an opportunity to build strong and enduring partnerships,” said U.S. Army Major Cesar Santiago, who traveled to Brazil representing Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) as head of Public Affairs.

The Brazilian Marine Corps maintains an intense exchange program with the U.S. Marine Corps, conducting periodic bilateral meetings to align objectives and to plan programs to achieve common goals. “In the future, I hope that Brazilian Navy Special Operations have more interaction with the United States Special Operations Command units to establish mid and long-term projects to promote the mutual improvement of our personnel. I believe this will expand integration of our Armed Forces and increase response capability against regional threats, guaranteeing the security of our nations,” Col Stewart said.

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