SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
The strong relationship between Honduras and the United States has been many years in the making. The two military forces conducted combined training exercises as early as 1965. In Feb. 1977, though, the name Caballero became a constant factor in providing leadership for the Honduran military forces and the budding partnership.
Honduran Navy Rear Adm. Hector and Army Col. Hedbreth Caballero entered the Francisco Morazán Military School on the same day, Feb. 1, 1977, and have now served for nearly 38 years in that capacity. Loyalty to their country and sound advice from their father inspired them to serve.
"We entered at the same time but he (Adm. Caballero) chose the Navy and I chose the Army," said Col. Caballero.
"There's always a sense of patriotism and desire to serve one's country, which really motivated us along with our dad's advice," said Adm. Caballero. "He always motivated us to join the Armed Forces. He would teach us about military forces and tell us he dreamed of joining as well."
Adm. Caballero serves as the chief of the Honduran Navy while his brother's job is the Honduran military liaison officer to JTF-Bravo. The Caballeros use their family relationship to keep the lines of communication open between the sister services and JTF-Bravo.
"We've had good coordination between the Navy Force, Joint Chief of Staffs, Air Force, Army and Joint Task Force-Bravo," added Col. Caballero. (U.S. Army) Col. (Kirk) Dorr (Joint Task Force-Bravo commander) has especially provided us with excellent support. I believe Col. Dorr's leadership style has made a marked difference."
The brothers Caballero aren't the only members from their family who proudly wear the military uniform for Honduras. Their brother and sister currently serve as the Army human resources chief and an Army physician respectively and two other siblings have since retired from the military.
Both brothers have witnessed the bond between Honduras and the U.S. grow from its infancy and are appreciative for the results that have occurred.
"There's a permanent gratitude for the help the U.S. Armed Forces has provided us throughout these 37 years. I have seen how the U.S. has helped and we are forever grateful," beamed Adm. Caballero.
"I'm thankful for each and every one of my American brothers and I wish you take back a good impression of Honduras and the good relationship that exists," added Col. Caballero.
That leaves us with one burning question. Which service is better: Army or Navy?
Of course Adm. Caballero bellows out "Navy."
"He says that because he outranks me," quips Col. Caballero.