CHRIST CHURCH, Barbados --
On a grassy hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, a handful of Marines from Headquarters Company, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, participated in training with a coalition of law enforcement and defense personnel from a host of Caribbean nations June 16 during Exercise Tradewinds 2012.
The San Bruno, Calif., based Marines were tasked with conducting law enforcement training with the partner nations in an effort to enhance their abilities to counter crime in the region, while also developing strong and lasting relationships and reinforcing human rights awareness.
A mixture of approximately 30 police and defense forces learned some of the elements that allow teams to succeed while conducting anti-crime operations.
“We’re not so much focused on shooting as much as the communication of shooting, teamwork, movement and reloading,” said Staff. Sgt. Joseph Neil, Headquarters Co., 23rd Marine Regiment.
The students, who are experienced veterans and lead small units back in their home countries, can integrate the law enforcement skills they learn here into their standard operating procedures and teach it to their units. Throughout Tradewinds, they will receive additional training on improvised explosive devices to help overcome booby traps they routinely face on counter-narcoterrorism operations.
“What we learn from here is very beneficial because we go on a lot of patrols and marijuana operations,” said. Lt. Steve Benny of the Trinidad and Tobago Army Learning Center.
Also, the common techniques and tactics that the Caribbean troops learn will make it easier for them to work with their neighbors as they share common goals. The island nations routinely work together to reduce organized crime on the islands.
“If there is standardization across the islands, it makes deployments easier,” added Benny, a seven-year veteran.
The exercise is an ideal opportunity for all participating forces to train together while working toward a common goal of improving collaboration and synchronization among all participating nations to improve security.
For the United States, it is a cost effective technique to enhance abilities of ally nations to respond to a wide variety of regional security threats.
“Any opportunity to do a ‘train the trainer’ event is better because they can go back and continuously multiply it within their troops,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Temple, operations officer, Headquarters Co., 23rd Marines.
Tradewinds 2012 is a U.S. Southern Command, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved, interagency, multinational exercise designed to enhance the collective abilities of Caribbean Partner Nation Defense Forces and constabularies to Counter Transnational Organized Crime, and conduct Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations.
The exercise features U.S. personnel from the Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, Joint-interagency Task Force-South, Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation working and training along with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, the Eastern Caribbean Regional Security System and military and law enforcement personnel from: Antigua-Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago