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News | Nov. 7, 2013

"Camaraderie Day" celebrates U.S., Honduran military relationship

By Capt. Zach Anderson Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

Honduran and United States military members came together for a day of fellowship and friendly competition at the bi-annual Camaraderie Day event here today.

Camaraderie Day is an event built around celebrating the partnership between Honduras and the United States. The day serves to increase cohesion between the military members of the two countries.

"We are one team," said U.S. Army Col. Thomas Boccardi, Joint Task Force-Bravo commander. "It is truly a team of teams here. We are in Honduras, doing a noble mission, and we share our work effort with the Hondurans. We share a common calling--we both serve our nation. That is our common bond. They understand what we do, we understand what they do, and that is a bond."

The day began with opening ceremonies, including the playing of the National Anthems of Honduras and the U.S., as well as opening remarks from Boccardi, Honduran Maj. Gen. Rene Osorio Canales, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of Honduras, and Honduras Vice Minister of Defense, Carlos Funez Ponce.

"At the end of this day, we will have all given a great effort together," said Osorio. "We will show the sportsmanship, the discipline and especially the friendship that exists between our armed forces."

Throughout the day, the Hondurans and Americans competed in volleyball, ping-pong, bicycle relay, dodge ball, men and women's 4x200 relay, and soccer. The idea behind the competition is to use the international language of sports as a conduit to strengthen the bond between the Americans and Hondurans. By the end of the day, despite the best efforts of the Americans, the Hondurans took home the Camaraderie Day trophy for the third straight time.

"It was a great time," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Emmanuel Gyesi, who competed as part of JTF-Bravo's men's 4x200 relay team. "The Hondurans competed well, and we had fun together. Overall, this entire day was a great event and everyone had a good time."

Following the competition, the Hondurans and Americans took part in a "fiesta lunch," where they were able to visit and spend time together. Despite the language barrier, throughout the day participants were able to get to know each other and accomplish the overall purpose of strengthening the bond between the two countries.

"Our profession, like no other profession, defines camaraderie," said Boccardi. "Our profession preserves a way of life. It is a noble calling, one that is comprised of noble people. The average person does not understand this. But we do, and that is our bond. That is what makes us comrades and why Camaraderie Day is important."

Joint Task Force-Bravo, as guests of their Honduran host-nation partners and the senior representative for USSOUTHCOM at Soto Cano Air Base, conducts and supports joint operations, actions, and activities throughout the joint operations area maintaining a forward presence in order to enhance regional security, stability, and cooperation.