MACON, Ga. – The Georgia Army National Guard deployed Soldiers to Central America for the first nine months of 2014 to build regional partners' military capacity in order to enhance the host nations' capability to combat transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). Regional partner military forces were trained on best practices concerning border control operations, command post operations, intelligence support operations and brigade sustainment operations.
“The Georgia National Guard's 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) is well-suited to promote partnership between U.S. Southern Command, Army South, and the government of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras,” said Lt. Col. Matt Smith, 48th IBCT deputy commander. “We believe Guard Soldiers are uniquely qualified to partner with other nations due to the extensive civilian skill sets and experiences they bring to the process in addition to their military training.”
Georgia Guardsmen with the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team instruct policemen and Soldiers with the Guatemalan Interagency Task Force on military operations in urban terrain in Zacapa, Guatemala, in July of 2014 as part of the U.S. Department of Defense's regionally aligned forces initiative. The Georgia Army National Guard deployed Soldiers to Central America for the first nine months of 2014 to build regional partners' military capacity in order to enhance the host nations' capability to combat transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). Regional partner military forces were trained on best practices concerning border control operations, command post operations, intelligence support operations and brigade sustainment operations. (Georgia Army National Guard photo by Maj. Will Cox)
The Georgia's 48th IBCT was the first National Guard IBCT to execute missions under the regionally aligned forces program in an effort to forge strong regional partnerships across the Americas. The training was so successful in Guatemala that the governments of Guatemala and the United States funded an additional 75 days for the Georgia National Guard lead Task Force (TF) Warrior to better train the Guatemalan Inter-Agency Task Force (GIATF) composed of both Guatemalan police and military servicemen designed specifically to combat drug trafficking organizations operating inside of Guatemala.
“TF Warrior is not only training the GIATF in vehicle and personnel search techniques, but we are training them also in crime scene investigation and evidence processing procedures,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Fournier, 2-121 Infantry Regiment's battalion commander and TF Warrior commander. “TF Warrior is not just composed of the National Guard, it also includes the men and women of the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and local Guatemalan agencies to help provide the best training possible.”
Regionally aligned forces are prepared to support combatant commands like SOUTHCOM with mission-ready forces and capabilities. Regionally aligned forces also receive cultural, regional and language focused training. Forces can be drawn from the Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Department of the Army civilians, in order to operate within the current Army budget.
“We were there to train the Honduran Military on Combat Life Saving techniques; the 13 basic combative maneuvers (in case someone resists arrest); and conduct weapons training from the four basics of marksmanship (breathing, body position, site picture and trigger control) all the way through a live-fire shoot-house event,” said Capt. Jacob Stimson, company commander for Alpha Company, 1-121 IN.
To accomplish the RAF missions, Georgia Guardsmen were chosen with local law enforcement experience in addition to their military training to best train our regional partners' military forces to combat DTOs and TCOs. Bravo Company, 2-121 Infantry Regiment, headquartered out of Newnan, Ga., was one of the units that went to Guatemala.
“As an employee of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (in Glynco, Ga.), I get to conduct advanced training for agencies such as the U.S. Marshals, Secret Service and Customs and Border Protection,” said 1st Sgt. Timothy Sperry, senior enlisted advisor to Bravo Company, 2-121 Infantry Regiment and TF Warrior Sgt. Maj. “My 26 years of military experience, combined with 16 years of law enforcement experience as a police officer and defensive tactics and arrest techniques instructor, gives me a breadth of experience to pull from and relate to both the military members and police agents.”
Georgia National Guard members represent the nation's demographics and are the face of the military in their local community. Eighty five percent of the National Guard serves part time in the military while working and living full time in almost every community around the state.
“Our partner nations gain from our Guardsmen's military and civilian experiences, while our Guardsmen sustain their expeditionary mindset and broaden their professional experiences,” said Smith.
By U.S. Army Maj. Will Cox
Georgia National Guard
Provided through DVIDS
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