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Jul 21, 2016

Coast Guard Graduates One More SEAL Recruit

The training program for the SEALs of the Belize Coast Guard is one of the most intensive and rigorous. Many begin but only the fittest see the program to completion.  It is also one of the most guarded courses because of its sensitive nature in high-risk operations, relating to counter-narcotics and terrorist activities, as well as national security issues. Today, only one SEAL recruit graduated from the program to be pinned with his Coast Guard SEAL trident.  We were there and News Five’s Isani Cayetano got as close as he can to the action. Here is his report.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

As members of an elite team of coast guard SEALs, each operator is trained to execute special assignments at sea, in the air or on land, hence the widely used acronym.  Whether fast-roping from a hovering aircraft, infiltrating a hostile environment by water or engaging enemy fighters on land, these highly trained officers of the Belize National Coast Guard are a force to be reckoned with.

 

Elton Bennett

Commander Elton Bennett, Vice Commandant, BNCG

“We started off back in April with twenty-one potential candidates.  During that four-month period majority of the class dropped out and we’re down to one coastguard man who is graduating and will be pinned with a Coast Guard SEAL trident today.  The exercise was very difficult, going through different phases of leadership and tactics in land, sea and air operations as you witnessed today.  So we’re very proud of that one individual and it’s a program that we consider to be very, very important for the coast guard in conducting special operations.”

 

The exercise today culminates a program that was put together by the U.S. Navy SEALs, a curriculum that is rigorous by any physical or mental measure.

 

Commander Elton Bennett

“We believe that we are preparing our candidates well.  We are doing our best to get them prepared for this exercise and training.  But it is a very, very difficult course and we will continue to try to increase our numbers.  Candidates will drop out for different reasons but mainly we believe it is a mental over physical issue.  We think that once the guys stay in the system a little bit longer and toughen up mentally they would be able to pass this course.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now I was made to understand that this is the culmination of the program in its entirety.  Will the Belize National Coast Guard be adopting this program to graduate SEALs on its own?”

 

Commander Elton Bennett

“Yes, we will continue with this program.  What happened in this last course, the United States SEALs, along with the Belize Coast Guard SEALs started a train the trainer program so our SEALs were primarily the instructors for this program and so it’s a program that will continue and our SEALs will adopt the entire program and ensure that it continues.”

 

Designed to disorient the enemy, flash bang and smoke grenades, as well as the chatter of heavy artillery, all simulate the battlefield experience.  In the real world, coast guard SEALs have been deployed on a number of sensitive operations locally.

 

Commander Elton Bennett

“They would go out on special operations, special operations meaning anything not routine.  High risk operations, counter-drugs, counter-narcotics operations, the frequency of which we would not be able to discuss on air.  But they are involved once we believe the tempo of that operation requires a more specially trained, specially equipped group of men then we would launch the coast guard SEALs into that mission.”

 

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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