The United States and the Colombian military are constantly looking for ways to share an already rich partnership.
The most recent example occurred when an infantry company from the Colombian Army was incorporated into the US 82nd Airborne division in the 3rd Combat Brigade, with soldiers from the US Army’s 1st a. The Army’s Security Support Brigade (1st SFAB), during a recent rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana, in early May.
“The importance of this JRTC rotation with the Colombian Army is two-fold: It helps the Colombian Army understand the new operational environment, including how to conduct large-scale combat operations and reinforces the readiness of the United States Army.” US Army Maj. Joseph Macchiarella, the commander of the Southern Foreign Area in Colombia. “The 3rd Brigade, together with the 1st SFAB, was able to establish its own crisis task force and partner nation forces in their operations, as well as identifying gaps in capabilities that will be deployed in the near future.”
Asked about the importance of military alliances between the US and Colombian military, Col. Richard Taylor, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, spoke about how friendships and strategic alliances are the foundation of any large deployment.
“We know that the United States Army does not work alone; every opportunity to serve our allies is an opportunity to strengthen relationships and establish trust,” he said. “Both features depend on interoperability; Finally, they allow us to jump, fight and win in the toughest day of the battle on the ground.”
The Col. Taylor also praised the professionalism displayed in the rotation, saying: “The Colombian army are soldiers and leaders of training, lethal and highly qualified. Our paratroopers have gained knowledge by serving with them in the rotation.
There are several challenges that arise whenever the armies of two nations work together. Realistic and consistent training creates an understanding that can alleviate those concerns if this company is tested in real-world operation.
“There are still many challenges to overcome to achieve interoperability; but the conversions of the combat training center are the perfect mission to identify the deficit and find an immediate solution,” explained Maj. Macchiarella at the end of the rotation. “Many lessons are being learned from all participants and now there is a challenge of how to improve before the next big event.”
The military partnership between the US and Colombia is long-standing, and in recent years the two countries have begun working together for a common good.
“Since 2021, the United States and Colombia have the process of preparing and deploying an army unit, with the objective of working up to the phalanx field to improve and complete real trade,” explained Álvaro Vicente Pérez, lieutenant commander of Major General of Colombia. Army. “We started in 2011 working together at the platoon level and in this JRTC rotation we trained together at the company level.”
Exercising at the company level, such as the individual squad or platoon level, provided a greater understanding of capabilities and strategies in a large combat operations environment.
“The most important thing about this kind of training, after talking to our soldiers, is the ability to interact, train and understand the capabilities of other hosts like the United States and see operations from a different angle,” Maj. Gen. Perez
In addition to this training rotation organized by the US-JRTC, Colombian US soldiers from the Illinois and Georgia Army National Guard participated in the latest events during Exercise Vanguard Sur 23, which consisted of a two-week training exercise at the Tolemaida Military Base in Colombia. The exercise included a roundtable on the Women, Peace and Security initiative, in which senior leaders from both armies shared experiences and ideas to promote the role of women in their respective countries’ security efforts.