While Belize’s military will be benefiting from the various aspects of Exercise Tradewinds 2022, for the first time, the BDF is looking to capitalize on military tourism. This year’s exercise featured a rigorous four-week certification course in military jungle training. The course is focused on marketing Belize’s lush jungles to other armed forces, to have the BDF provide the specialized training. Acting BDF Chief of Staff, Major Rogelio Ramirez and Captain Clifford Avila, Officer in Charge of the BDF’s Jungle Wing Training Company, spoke more about this year’s new venture.
Major Rogelio Ramírez, Acting Chief of Staff, BDF: “We’ve had this, the Jungle Warfare Instructors Course, for many many years now. That is one of our best courses that we have and by experience, I’ve done a lot of courses within the B.D.F. and to me, in my experience, the Jungle Warfare Instructors Course is the better, the best one. But to me, in this particular case, the basic course that we have offered, or that we are offering to our partner nations is important because we realise that we have pristine jungle. Our instructors are amongst the best when it comes to the region and not necessarily just the region but globally. We have competent instructors who have been trained in different areas and they’ve come together in this particular package to ensure that we pass that information, pass that knowledge, pass that skill to our partner nations.
Cpt. Clifford Avila, Officer in Charge, BDF Jungle Training Company: There are several things that they have to go through to become basic jungle warrior, things that include physical assessments that they must pass. One of the physical assessments that they must pass is the hill that we call “The Death Trail” which is the Benil Quimil, which you have to make it up that hill and back down in a time of 20 mins and that is also the area where they have their classrooms. Some of the other physical assessments include the annual personal fitness test. You have Rock March 8 miles physical test. We have survival training that we teach them that they must go through. We have tactics that they must go through. We have a rappelling that they did from the Helo and we also have small river crossing trainings that we also do in the jungle so that’s what these guys were enduring for the past couple weeks. When we commenced the course on the 22nd of April, we started off with a total of 19 students and today it was 13 of them that made it out.”
This year is the fifth time Belize is co-hosting Exercise Tradewinds.