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Jun 17, 2015

Military Forces Converge on Belize for Trade Winds 2015

If you see increased military activity in your neck of the woods, don’t be alarmed. It is a well organized military training taking place. Personnel from the US, Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean are taking part in Trade Winds 2015. The exercise is two-fold: to improve regional capacity to fight the drug war and to conduct humanitarian disaster relief operations. The exercise consists of eight separate training tracks in areas such as Human Rights Awareness, Military Support to Law Enforcement and Marksmanship. It is taking place at different training areas around Belize. This afternoon, News Five Isani Cayetano observed the exercise at Price Barracks and Hattieville.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Military personnel from across the region, including the Caribbean and North America are presently in Belize where they are attending Trade Winds 2015.  Phase two of the annual exercise is being hosted by the Belize Defense Force and aims to provide humanitarian assistance in the wake of natural disasters, bolstering the regional response to narco-trafficking and supporting domestic law enforcement operations.

 

Tyler Hopkins

After a delayed arrival by sea earlier today, a detachment of Mexican soldiers gathered in formation at Price Barracks where they boarded a heavy lift aircraft en route to Mountain Pine Ridge.  Their rendezvous point: Guacamayo Bridge.  First Lieutenant Tyler Hopkins is the public affairs officer for the U.S. Marine Corps.

 

1st Lt. Tyler Hopkins, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Marine Corps

“Trade Winds 2015 is a three-phase, multination exercise.  Approximately eighteen nations are expected to participate and the overall goal of Trade Winds is to share practices with partner nations in order to increase regional security throughout the Caribbean.”

 

During the two weeks of training, focus will be placed on three specific areas: counter-illicit trafficking of substances and people in riverine, jungle and maritime environments; peacekeeping support operations, as well as threats to regional security.

 

1st Lt. Tyler Hopkins

“Phase two of Trade Winds is broken down into several training tracks.  We have the marksmanship track, riverine track, command and control, maritime and dive.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Talk to us about the dive for instance, in terms of how different that is from the other exercises that are being undertaken on the terrestrial side of things.”

 

1st Lt. Tyler Hopkins

“I think anytime that you have the opportunity to work with different nations you take advantage of it and you learn from each other and share your experience and expertise and I think the dive track is a perfect example of that.”

 

Elsewhere on the ground, a group of officers from various countries, including Belize, have gathered at a firing range near Hattieville where training in small arms, shotguns and rifles are underway.

 

Darrell Friars

Warrant Officer Darrell Friars, 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regimen

“Today the candidates they are going through what is called the Personal Weapons Test Number Two.  Yesterday and early this morning they went through Personal Weapons test Number One and the idea is to work at the lowest level and have all the shooters work up to Personal Weapons Test Number Four which is quick aim shooting which will prepare them for urban operations later on in the week.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now I notice that they are firing long arms, rifles and they are also firing handguns.  Talk to us about the lay of the land and what’s taking place otherwise.”

 

Warrant Officer Darrell Friars

“Yes, over here on this range is all our rifle shooting.  We’re firing at various distances starting at the one hundred, two hundred and then tomorrow they should be doing firing from the three hundred with rundown applications.  Over at the twenty-five meter range they are firing nine millimeter at distances of five to seven meters and then tomorrow we’ll be using the shotgun also.  The close range shooting replicates firing inside of a close confines, like inside of a building which also they’ll start to be training on tomorrow.”

 

R. Bethel

Participating for the first time is a lead mechanic from the Royal Bahamas Defense Force.  The experience, he says, is one he will be taking home and sharing with his colleagues in the army.

 

R. Bethel, Royal Bahamas Defense Force

“It’s quite an experience being that I mean you’re so far away from home but your atmosphere is kind of similar to home.  It’s a lot of sun, vegetation, minus the jungles at home; we don’t have jungles as such.  But pretty much the hospitality, the people and everything is kind of like home.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of the exercises that you are participating in, how has this been able to help in terms of developing an existing skill or perfecting that skill?”

 

R. Bethel

“Developing and perfecting a skill, the techniques that we’ve learned so far it can be altered depends on your armed force or the armed force of the country where I’m from, the Bahamas.  Like we could alter it to our likings which is more comfortable.  But it’s definitely an experience that I will truly remember.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“What is one of the takeaways that they will be able to leave here with, either learning a new skill or perfecting or honing an existing skill?”

 

1st Lt. Tyler Hopkins

“I think one of the biggest takeaways is the experience of working with each other, different nations, you know, in the event of an emergency where we have to work together.  It’s very important to know that we can work together and gaining that experience ahead of time is very important.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Military Forces Converge on Belize for Trade Winds 2015”

  1. CEO says:

    Where is all this happening? I would like for them to go near the border where the Guates were acting all bad the other day so we can see if they would go mess with these guys. Let’s see the size of their cohones.

    They are picking on us because they know they have might over us.

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