For the fifth time in the history of Fuerzas Comando, Colombia has scooped the title of Champion of the Military Anti-Terrorist Olympiad, the most important Special Forces sporting event in the Western Hemisphere. Ecuador and Uruguay took second and third place, respectively, followed by El Salvador and Guatemala.
Only a few hours after the victory was announced, the winning team was decorated by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who on June 13 arrived at the Military Fort of Tolemaida to take part in the activation ceremony of three new mobile brigades and four Army batallions.
Joined by Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón, the president took advantage of the opportunity to address the seven Colombian commandos who raised their country’s honor during the 10th edition of Fuerzas Comando. “We have the best Armed Forces in the continent (…) nothing compares to our men’s training, men who have additionally been wrought in combat, because we are the only country to continue at war in the whole of the continent,” he said.
For their part, the winning team members dedicated their victory to the Colombian people and stated that their source of strength during the hardest moments of the competition was the “eighth” team member. “He trained to be with us at this event, but unfortunately died during a Military exercise on March 5,” explained Sergeant Major Aquiles, who for security reasons changed his name.
That same day, the Military Fort was the stage for the so-called “Friendship Jump” in which some 400 Military and Special Forces members from 21 countries in the Americas jumped from an altitude of 12,000 feet with parachutes. Among the paratroopers was General Alejandro Navas, commander of the Joint Staff of the Colombian Armed Forces, who parachuted from a Colombian Air Force plane with commandos from his country as well as from the Dominican Republic, Canada, Guatemala and Mexico.
The event began before sunrise and counted on the presence of Ambassador Carmen Martínez, Civilian Deputy to the Commander & Foreign Policy Advisor at the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). During her visit, Martínez expressed her admiration for the participants’ tenacity. “I am impressed with the interaction between the teams, the way in which they help each other out. This is a symbol of what we can do among our countries. People who help each other out, countries who help each other out,” she expressed.
Ambassador Martínez also praised the great job done by the event’s Colombian organizers and highlighted the collaboration that these events foster. “Our continent is like a big neighborhood, and if we want to live in a good neighborhood we have to be good neighbors, help each other out. What happens in one country affects the rest, and we can’t remain isolated,” she insisted.
Sponsored by SOUTHCOM, since its inception in 2004, Fuerzas Comando aims to strengthen the relationships between the members of the Armed Forces of the Americas, as well as to share skills, techniques and tactics in the fight against terrorism.
Chile, which took the 10th place in this year’s event, will host the 10th edition of the competition in 2013.