On the shores of the Pacific, at the Peruvian Marine Corps base in Ancon, Major General Moisés del Castillo, commander general of the Intelligence and Joint Special Operations Command of the Armed Forces of Peru, presided over the May 2nd opening of the 14th edition of the multinational exercise Fuerzas Comando 2016. “These competitive gatherings allow us to test the hard work of preparation [of Special Forces Soldiers], the work that gives strength to muscle, rhythm to thought, steadiness to pulse, a temple to character, heat to the heart, and energy to our body.”
Peru is hosting the event for the first time, through the Joint Chiefs of Staff of its Armed Forces, but the friendly competition has been held annually under the auspices of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) since 2004. It is run by the Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH), together with the different partner nations who host each edition of the event. It is also an opportunity for participants to improve their skills in special operations training, increase their expertise, and deepen their interoperability and relationships with each other, especially to combat common threats in a unified manner.
Fuerzas Comando 2016 brings together members of Military and police special forces from 20 countries in the Americas, including Argentina, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, El Salvador, the United States, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay. Each team has seven Commandos, in some cases from joint forces, in addition to an impartial judge who will attend the competition. The winner of the previous edition, Colombia, is bringing a joint team of Special Forces members from both the Army and Air Force.
Hope, camaraderie, and brotherhood
“We use the opportunity of this convergence of Special Forces Soldiers from many partner nations to paint our faces, but not with war paint," Maj. Gen. Del Castillo stated during his inaugural speech. " We do it using the paint of hope, peace, joy, friendship, camaraderie, and our brotherhood.”
Peru is hosting the teams from each friendly nation for 10 days, as they compete for one of the most prized Military trophies on the continent. “Fuerzas Comando Peru 2016 is a unique opportunity for members of the Armed Forces of 20 fraternal countries to demonstrate the preparation, capacities, and professionalism of their elite members, taking them to the extreme in each of the tests to be performed,” said the Master of Ceremonies, a member of Peru's Armed Forces.
Following the opening ceremony, the nearly 700 participating Commandos began the physical endurance test in combined teams. This first event of the competition included sit-ups for two minutes, parallel bars for one minute, fixed-bar pull-ups for one minute and four-mile run under the strong Peruvian sun.
During the later days of competition participants competed in three categories: assault teams, sniper teams, and combined teams. The assault teams participated in critical tasks evaluation, close quarters combat, a rifle shoot, target discrimination, and a stress test.
Meanwhile, the sniper teams competed in the field shoot, snaps and movers, range estimation, and stalk and shoot. Finally, in addition to the physical endurance test, the combined teams competed in tests of combined assault, a water event, a road march, and an obstacle course.
"The transnational nature of the 21st century security challenges requires stronger cross-border, regional, and multinational cooperation," said Staff Sergeant Osvaldo Equite, Public Affairs Officer for SOCSOUTH and spokesman for the event. "Events like Fuerzas Comando strengthen Military cooperation and promote interoperability among competing countries in the Americas."