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Thursday, June 21, 2012


U.S. Marine Cpl. Aaron M. Kappler points out shot impacts to a Haitian Special Weapons and Tactics police officer at Barbados Defence Force Base Paragon, Christ Church, Barbados, during Exercise Tradewinds 2012 on June 16, 2012. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Nana Dannsaappiah 

Face of Defense: Marines Train Caribbean Troops, Police
By Marine Corps Cpl. Nana Dannsaappiah
Marine Corps Reserve
CHRIST CHURCH, Barbados, June 19, 2012 - On a grassy hill here overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on June 16, a handful of U.S. Marine reservists from Headquarters Company, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, taught law enforcement techniques to military and civilian members representing a group of Caribbean nations during Exercise Tradewinds 2012.

The San Bruno, Calif.-based Marines conducted law enforcement and human rights awareness training with the partner nations.

The U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise, officials said, included representatives from the Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Army, Navy, and Air Force, and other government agencies.  Law enforcement personnel from the Caribbean included 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.

"We're not so much focused on shooting, as much as the communication of shooting, teamwork, movement and reloading," said U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Joseph Neil, assigned to Headquarters Co., 23rd Marine Regiment.

Those attending will be able to integrate the law enforcement skills they learn here and teach it to their units, officials said. Throughout Tradewinds 2012, 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 Lieutenant Steve Benny of the Trinidad and Tobago Army Learning Center.

The police techniques and tactics that the Caribbean troops learn will make it easier for them to work with their neighbors as they share common goals, officials said. The Caribbean military and police routinely work together in efforts to deter organized crime in the region.

"If there is standardization across the islands, it makes deployments easier," Benny said.
For the United States, the exercise is a cost effective technique to enhance abilities of allied 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 U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Daniel Temple, an operations officer with the 23rd Marine Regiment.

Tradewinds 2012 is an annual interagency, multinational exercise designed to enhance the collective abilities of Caribbean partner nation defense forces and constabularies in order to counter transnational organized crime, and conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, officials said.