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Tradewinds 2015 – Phase II Underway in Belize

Tradewinds 2015 is currently underway in Belize.  The exercise is centred in the Caribbean and entails exercises and training sessions that aim to improve the military’s response to natural disasters, land and maritime threats as well as illicit trafficking.  Led by the United States military, Tradewinds 2015 is currently in its second phase.  As part of phase two, training sessions are taking place with divers from the Mexican Navy and the Belize Coast Guard.  Those sessions include classroom lessons on dive physiology, first aid dive signals and search techniques.  Practical sessions are underway today as a team from the Belize Coast Guard accompanied the US military for diving exercises including circular searches out in San Pedro.  The Royal Canadian Navy Fleet Diving Unit is working with partner countries in Belize during the maritime exercises that fall under this phase of Tradewinds 2015.  Aside from the diving sessions, several Marine officers of the Fourth Civil Affairs Group, the Force Headquarters Group and the Marine Forces Reserve did a site survey of the Belizean History Museum on Wednesday, June 17.  The purpose of the survey was to familiarize the Marines with Belizean culture and history, so they could better understand how to interact with their partner nation populace. Though they may be requested to assist the local populace in a time of evacuation to protect items of cultural significance, this is not their main mission.   Also in Belize is the Louisiana Army National Guard of the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.  According to Captain Rachel Ward, the team is here to support the partner nations in the various military branches with any medical case that may arise.  This team is operating from four sites, including the jungle, along the river, the outskirts of Belize and at the Belize Defense Force at the Price Barracks in Ladyville Village, Belize District.  Tradewinds is a combined, joint U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise and an opportunity for the participating partner nations to come together to enhance regional maritime security. The exercise is scheduled to continue through June 24.