Local ranks get training in ballistics, casualty evacuations as part of Exercise Tradewinds


Over the past few days, at various locations across Guyana, ranks of local and foreign joint services could be seen engaging in military training activities. Some of them at the gun range at the Guyana Defence Force (GDF)’s Camp Stephenson at Timehri, East Bank Demerara and some of them flying in Black Hawk choppers as part of tactical missions.

These activities and many more are part of the 2021 ‘Exercise Tradewinds’, a United States Southern Command sponsored, multinational, Caribbean security exercise. This year, the exercise is being hosted in Guyana and it has brought together armed forces from 17 countries across the Caribbean, Europe, North and South America.

Members of the armed forces entering the Black Hawk (Photo: Yusuf Ali/ June 18, 2021)

Staff Sergeant of the Florida National Guard, Matthew Giorgio, has been engaging troops on providing medical casualty evacuation; through this, the troops would be able to evacuate an injured soldier and get them to a medical facility to prevent further injury.

US Sergeant, First Class Anthony Calvi, who has spent some of his time in Guyana improving the troops’ ballistic skills at the gun range, related that he has seen a marked improvement in the police officers’ skills.

“Every force that comes out here uses different weapon systems (but) they’re aware of the fundamentals and it is (about) us being able to identify anything we can do to make them work together as a group,” Sergeant Clavi said.

Ranks of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and US Army troops engaged in a training exercise (Photo: Yusuf Ali/ June 18, 2021)

Beyond strengthening the skills of the local and foreign armed forces in individual areas whether ballistic training or medical evacuations, there is an overarching aim: to facilitate multinational partnerships.

“… we are here to provide training for the host nation and other nations in working with US coalition forces.

“That way if the need arises and that becomes a big issue we already know how they operate,” Sergeant Giorgio emphasised.

This means that at the end of the two-week exercise, the 17 participating nations would become better acquainted with each other and, should the need arise, they would be able to easily respond to threats or deal with emergencies.

Staff Sergeant of the Florida National Guard, Matthew Giorgio (Photo: Yusuf Ali/ June 18, 2021)

On Friday, Chief Warrant Officer Three of the US army, Charles Barba, also emphasised that the US troops have been able to learn from Guyanese soldiers though they were the ones conducting the training sessions.

On Sunday last during the launch of the exercise at the Guyana Defence Force (GDF)’s Base Camp Ayanganna in Georgetown, GDF Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Godfrey Bess said that sustained peace and stability across the Caribbean region and within the borders of the partner nations are crucial to all.

As such, he emphasised that the exercise must be more than a meet-and-greet, and posited that it must embed a shared sense of commitment, peace, and mutual sustainable goals in each participant.

While visiting Camp Stephenson on Friday, US Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch underscored that the exercise has been functioning to deepen relationships between the US and Guyana, but also with the other partner agencies.

US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, during a visit with ranks taking part in Exercise Tradewinds at Timehri (Photo: Yusuf Ali/June 18, 2021)

And, she contended: “I think deepening and strengthening those partnerships is really the best part of it but beyond that they share techniques, they share different ways of addressing similar issues and I think that it is a learning experience for everyone.”

This military exercise will conclude on June 25 and it is expected that by then, a framework guiding how multinational operations would be established.

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