SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
Members of the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment from Joint Task Force-Bravo conducted combined exercises with Salvadorian military forces and the Special
Operations Command South members that included open water rescue, rappel and fast rope training, and helicopter loading/unloading May 23-26 in El Salvador.
Salvadorian military members received incremental training that began with helicopter familiarization and progressed to rappelling from, and being hoisted into, the 1-228th AVN's UH-60 Black Hawks flying at heights of up to 90 feet. This training is crucial to both U.S. and Salvadorian military members' ability to safely conduct aerial operations for a variety of missions that include search and rescue, humanitarian aid and disaster relief, troop movements, counter-transnational organized crime operations and even firefighting efforts.
"These exercises served as a proof of concept that can potentially be used to train other Special Operation training teams in the region to increase Central American Partner Nation capabilities in support of counter-transnational organized crime operations," said U.S. Army Maj. Richard Hull, 1-228th AVN Operations director.
JTF-Bravo and other U.S. Military elements such as U.S. Army South Regionally Aligned Forces and Special-Purpose Marine Air, Ground Task Forces, under the auspices of U.S. Southern Command, routinely conduct combined training and exercises with Partner Nation security forces in multiple Central American nations, improving the safety and security in the CENTAM region and southern approaches to the United States.
"Whether countering transnational organized crime and terrorism, supporting disaster response operations, establishing cyber defense capabilities, or emphasizing a solid human rights foundation, building partner capacity is the cornerstone of everything we do," said Adm. Kurt Tidd, USSOUTHCOM commander, in his March 10, 2016 USSOUTHCOM Posture Statement to Congress. "Our efforts help build and nurture committed and capable partners who can control their borders, address drivers of insecurity and instability, respond to natural and man-made disasters, and contribute to regional security."
According USSOUTHCOM officials, Salvadorian forces exemplify the command's security cooperation objectives to enhance the capability of partners to operate successfully in contingency, peacekeeping, humanitarian, disaster and stability operations.
USSOUTHCOM is a joint military command supporting U.S. national security objectives throughout the Western Hemisphere in cooperation with domestic and international partners, in order to foster security, ensure stability and promote prosperity throughout Central and South America, the Caribbean and the global community.