For some time now we have heard the Commander of the Belize Defence Force speak of military tourism. It is a concept that seeks to bring military units from around the world to do training in the jungles of Belize. So far, Belize has seen the Dutch, the British and the Americans among others engaged in military training with the BDF. As for the aspect of tourism it does seem to be working as records of the exercises are noted on various websites including a county gazette in the United Kingdom which featured Major James Knight of the Royal Marines who spoke of the Delta Company’s experience in Belize as they currently undergo training. .
MAJOR JAMES KNIGHT
“We are currently in a Sibun Gorge in Belize conducting our jungle warfare training, we are conducting our individual skills package at the minute and we’ve been in the field for about seven days and we’ve got about another eight days left to go on this package. One of the biggest challenges is about 95% of the company had never been to the jungle before so this is a new environment for most of us, it’s a steep learning curve; fortunately we’ve got a lot of great instructors with us who are taking us through the training. Obviously the heat is one of the issues, the unusual creatures we’ve encountered while we’ve been out there but its soldiering at its purest form and so it’s really back to basics for a lot of us, there is no technology here in the jungle whatsoever so no GPS or anything like that for your navigational aids and so it’s been really refreshing training but like I say it’s an environment unlike many of us have ever experienced before. So far since we arrived we’ve conducted a small introduction to the company so we conducted lectures back at Price Barracks, learning how to live and survive in the jungle and then really once we moved into the field what we done is that we’ve done a phase that teaches what we’ve been out here so we’ve conducted navigation training, close target recon., survival training and then we’re going into a break contact and patrol phase of the individual skills package.”
According to the article the 40 Commando Royal Marines were in Belize conducting training with the British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) ranging from contact drills to close target reconnaissance, patrol and navigation in the Sibun Gorge. A special BATSUB group called trackers also conducted training on operating in the jungle, survival and the practical uses of the plants and wildlife. The 40 Commando Royal Marines is a battalion sized formation out of the British Royal Marines. The men will head for Norway for cold weather survival training alongside NATO partners once they have completed the jungle training in Belize.