Response to marine and sea threats is a major responsibility and soldiers participating in Exercise Tradewinds 2023 on Tuesday exchanged knowledge and skills geared at improving their responses should any incident arise in their country or the Caribbean region as a whole.
The activity, in coastal waters of Guyana, saw several operations being carried out in the Demerara River with members from the Coast Guard of the more than 21 participating countries.
There was also rescue and medical evacuation conducted onboard the Mexican Navy vessel which sailed to Georgetown for the exercise.
The soldiers were trained by the US Army to enhance their response to incidents at sea such as drug trafficking, oil spills and piracy.
Noting that there is always room for improvement, GDF Coast Guard Mark Rover explained how the marine training will aid ranks in the execution of their daily duties.
“In order for us to be better coast guards, we need to have some additional expert training…It will impact the soldiers’ confidence and ability to operate in any conditions possible,” Dover said
“A lot of different techniques that were done by the US Coast Guard can be implanted into our operational structure,” he added.
Among the areas that the soldiers were trained in include boat towing and handling, passenger exchange, man on board, and all tactical marine operations used at sea.
The News Room spoke to Brian Sinclair, one of the participating soldiers from the Jamaica Defence Force who shared the different techniques and skills he was exposed to as it relates to countering drug trafficking.
During this training, Sinclair said he and other soldiers were taught about the importance of shapes and measurement of vessels identifying hidden spaces to detect drug trafficking.
“If you get an understanding of the shaping of the vessel…Once you have a general understanding of the spacing of the vessel you might be able to search it, know what to search for and where to search,” he said.
Local soldiers were also given an opportunity to explore and work with their counterparts onboard the Mexican Navy vessel which is here to conduct search and rescue operations, deck landing qualifications and air operations in support of the maritime track.
The crew consists of more than 53 members of the Mexican Armed Forces.
On Tuesday, members of the media were given an opportunity to witness an emergency rescue evacuation onboard.
This exercise saw a demonstration of how an injured person is extracted with a helicopter and taken for medical evaluation.
Exercise Tradewinds is held annually with the aim of enhancing the ability of the defence forces of participating nations to counter regional threats and conduct humanitarian/disaster relief operations while developing strong relationships and reinforcing human rights awareness.
Currently, more than 1500 soldiers from over 21 countries are in Guyana to participate in the US Southern Command sponsored exercise.
They will be trained in ground, air, sea and cyber domains in various locations across Guyana from July 15-28.