Under the theme “Courage and Strength in any Situation”, elite commandos of the armed and police forces of 19 nations from the Western Hemisphere showed their special operations capabilities, during exercise Fuerzas Comando 2019, June 17-27 in Chile.
“We show the capabilities of our military forces, the courage of each team member, because as Colombians, we’re always ready to fight and give our all,” said Colombian Army Captain Fabián Andrés Tamayo Argollo, team captain. Colombia won the competition for the 10th time. “Countries have shown a high level of training; I feel great respect for all.”
Fuerzas Comando was created in 2004, as a U.S. Southern Command- (SOUTHCOM) led multinational special operations exercise conducted by U.S. Special Operations Command South, with Chile as host nation. The exercise promotes military relations, interoperability, and improves regional security. Fuerzas Comando consists of two joint activities: the skills competition and the Senior Leader Seminar.
“This morning we are just one team. We are all Fuerzas Comando,” said U.S. Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, commander of SOUTHCOM, during the closing and awards ceremony at the competition. “We are a team that has built trust. We built trust to make a difference for our nations and future.”
Army General Ricardo Martínez Menanteau, commander of the Chilean Army, said that “the largest benefit [for competitors] is the camaraderie and trust that is forged during the competition. They are elite units, special forces units, which means that they’re put to the test during training.”
Personnel from Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, and Uruguay attended the exercise’s 15th edition. The Special Operations Brigade Lautaro, in the outskirts of Santiago, was the scene for the display of physical capabilities, an obstacle course, marches, and a combined assault. The amphibious event took place in Viña del Mar.
“We conducted the march under a hailstorm and very low temperatures; it was hard for all of us,” said Chilean Army Special Forces Specialist Jonathan Antonio Ruminot Barriga, a member of the assault team. “This is a high-profile competition that leaves us with many lessons learned.” Chile came in second place.
“This is quite a demanding competition in the technical and physical aspect,” said Ecuadorean Army Special Operations Group Captain Omar Sánchez, who served as a judge in the competition. “We need to work harder on the technical part, have better equipment, and more training for future competitions.” His country took third place.
“What’s most important is to share with the other commandos,” said Honduran Army Special Forces First Lieutenant Denis Nohel Bonilla, from the assault team. “This year’s highlight was close combat; this enables us to share knowledge to implement new urban combat techniques in the fight against narcotrafficking and counterinsurgency.” Honduras ranked in fifth place on the scoreboard.