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Jun 14, 2023

Belizean Troops Return from Military Exercise in the United States

Today, a cohort of one hundred and forty plus members of the Belize Defense Force and the Belize Coast Guard returned to the Jewel from three weeks of training in the United States. The delegation from Belize was part of five thousand five hundred and nine military personnel from the U.S. and partner nations that were engaged in the exercise. The training was about refining military skill sets on and off the field through real world simulations. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

They departed Belize on May twenty-fourth en route to Louisiana to partake in three weeks of intensive training. Today, one hundred and forty-four men and women from the Belize Defense Force and the Belize Coast Guard returned home after a military exercise with the Louisiana National Guard’s Infantry Brigade Combat Team.


Anthony Velasquez

Lt. Col. Anthony Velasquez, Deputy Commander, B.D.F.

“It is sixty-five Belize Defense Force regular soldiers, thirty-five volunteer soldiers and twenty-four coast guard members returning back from the United States joint readiness training center, training with the Louisiana National Guard doing small unit tactics and other training events. It was a one-month training event – the first week was preparation, second and third week was actual training and the fourth week was after action and final exercise.”


While they work in the maritime domain, Ensign Ardon Budna says that the skills learnt will help to develop seamen and other members of the naval unit.


Ardon Budna

Ensign Ardon Budna, Platoon Commander, Belize Coast Guard

“For us coast guard to transition from a maritime to infantry, it was a bit challenging at first, however, we adapt and we conquer. We did a lot of planning – organized planning, advanced planning – operational wise. And two, despite that it was infantry, we still apply infantry in our maritime domain. Whenever we work on island, whenever we set foot on ground, it’s infantry tactic that we use. So everything that we use, we put it together and we become stronger together.”


Lt. Col. Anthony Velasquez

“Every day, the B.D.F. trains to first and foremost defend the nation of Belize. We do patrolling in the jungles on Belize, on the borders and that training develops soldiers’ skills and enhances the soldiers’ skills that they already have. So when they return back to their units and continue training in Belize and the patrolling along the border, that training that they received over there enhances the training that they already have and they also learn new ways to do the same thing.”


The training is conducted every four years and is the result of a military partnership between both Belize and U.S.  Major Josiah Rawlings, who welcomed the Belizean troops at the P.G.I.A. today, says that it is about strengthening interoperability – the standard operating procedures across all militaries.


Josiah Rawlings

Major Josiah Rawlings, Ag. Security Cooperation Chief, US Embassy

“It’s the largest ever support force that Belize has ever provided. While it’s been an ongoing over thirty-year relationship with the state partner, this one is an example of the growing relationship that Louisiana National Guard and Belize has with one another. As far as the training goes specifically there, the Belize Defense Force and the Belize Coast Guard enjoy learning more about small unit tactics, as well as deployments, so how to mobilize a force, how to get a force off the ground and into another country and what the logistics problems are and hurdles that come along with that.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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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