LITTLE CREEK, VA – East Coast-based SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewman Operators trained closely with 25 personnel from four partner nation special operations forces from throughout South America August 16-30 as part of the U.S. Southern Command sponsored exercise PANAMAX 2010.
The partner nations included Brazil’s Grupamento de Mergulhadores de Combate, Colombia’s Batallon de Fuerzas Especiales de Infanteria de Marina, Peru’s Fuerza de Operaciones Especiales, Panama’s National Sea and Air Service and National Police of Panama .
The exercise, which featured defense forces from 18 nations throughout the Americas, focuses on the security of the Panama Canal and Central American region while emphasizing interoperability of a multinational combined joint task force.
Naval Special Warfare’s role during PANAMEX was to stand up a special operations task unit and conduct exercises simulating responses to real world events while operating in a joint warfare environment.
“Each nation has a strategic interest in protecting the Panama Canal,” said the Naval Special Warfare Detachment South Officer in Charge. “This exercise gives a comprehensive view of the abilities of each of our partner nations and allows us to engage in very productive training at both the tactical and operational level.”
The NSW personnel and partner forces worked closely in multiple scenarios, which required an established proficiency from each operator to incorporate a multitude of special tactics, including properly patrolling in urban environments, inserting and extracting by way of helicopter, and boarding vessels at sea.
“This exercise also gave the NSW personnel the unique opportunity to gain experience conducting Foreign Internal Defense training, which is a real skill that will be applicable in many theaters and is difficult to replicate without working with partner nations in this capacity,” said the NSW Detachment South Officer in Charge.
According to a lieutenant from Peru, this exercise presents a unique opportunity for multiple special operations forces to get together and communicate tactically and accomplish a common goal.
“This is a great platform for our men to work with highly professional forces and increase our proficiency at all levels,” said the Peruvian Lieutenant.
“It has been a wonderful opportunity for each of us to work with the U.S. Navy SEALs, who we know are a highly skilled force, and to work to instill these same attributes in to our troops.”
And with professional growth, friendships and bonds between the participating forces are enhanced.
“It is great to get all of these nations together to complete this type of training,” said a Lieutenant from Colombia’s special operations forces. “We not only gain in proficiency by working with each other, but we also build a camaraderie with each other, which is just as important in many cases.”