Troops from the Royal Bermuda Regiment are among about 1,500 people taking part in Exercise TRADEWINDS 23 – a multinational programme to enhance and consolidate capabilities with a focus on the Caribbean region.
Soldiers arrived in Guyana on Friday for two weeks of training that will boost operational effectiveness and interoperability.
About 100 members of the RBR made the trip, with most involved directly in the US Southern Command-sponsored exercise and others fulfilling support roles.
Organisations from more than 20 countries are represented at this year’s TRADEWINDS, which has taken place annually – except 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic – since 1984.
Major Thomas Wood, the country lead for Bermuda, said: “The exercise is a great opportunity for the RBR to develop skills and test interoperability with other countries.
“It also provides the opportunity for the RBR instructors to deliver training to other armed forces.
“The exercise is the culmination of a busy training year and the first overseas deployment since Covid restrictions were lifted.
“It promises to be an arduous yet enjoyable two weeks for all involved.”
He added: “It’s a Caribbean-focused audience but with Canadian and American input as well.
“All the training tracks we’re involved in are relevant to Bermuda.
“The intention is to use this as a good opportunity to see what we can do individually, how we can support other nations and what external training we can provide.”
Representatives of the battalion attended an opening ceremony yesterday at Camp Ayanganna, the Guyana Defence Force headquarters.
The GDF’s Major Jaime Castello, lead planner for the exercise, said then: “No effort has been spared to create an environment that will challenge, inspire and foster growth among the participants.
“The countless hours of hard work have laid the foundation for an exercise that will undoubtedly exceed our expectations.”
Activities will include sessions in ground training, cyber security and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Maj Castello said: “Let us embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
“We have assembled a diverse group of individuals, each bringing unique perspectives, skills and experiences to the table.”
Major General William Thigpen, Commanding General, US Army South, told attendees: “Our presence here today is to demonstrate our enduring relationship and commitment to increasing disaster response and preparedness throughout the region as security partners, in concert with each other.”
He added: “The participation of more than 1,500 service members this year exemplifies the shared commitment to one another as we strengthen our partnership and remain united to share responsibilities as defenders of common values, which include freedom, human rights and democracy.”
Maj Gen Thigpen said: “TRADEWINDS 23 is key to leveraging the capabilities of like-minded countries to reach common goals that strengthen regional stability.
“Our partnerships are built on trust and understanding to provide a safe and secure environment for our shared neighbourhood.”
- For more information or to join the Royal Bermuda Regiment, visitbermudaregiment.bmor call 238-1045.