BELIZE -- Twenty-three countries throughout the Caribbean and South America participated in TRADEWINDS 22, hosted by Belize and Mexico. The exercise took place May 7-20, 2022, in coordination and with support from U.S. Southern Command. TRADEWINDS 22 provided extensive partner-force training focused on enhancing regional collaboration, security, and stability.
7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) participated in TRADEWINDS providing their expertise to partner nation forces and strengthening existing friendly networks. TRADEWINDS served as a means to promote regional security cooperation while also identifying strengths and areas for improvement between the partner forces.
To kick off the exercise, 7th SFG(A) Soldiers led partner nations in an airborne operation at Manatee Training Area, Belize. A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft soared overhead with more than 30 combined force airborne qualified troops exiting the aircraft into the clear blue sky. Parachutes opened and all of the Soldiers floated to the ground to complete yet another successful jump.
After the static-line jumpers safely carried their parachutes off of the drop zone, the aircraft ascended to a much higher altitude to prepare for the high altitude, low opening (HALO) jump. As the qualified HALO jumpers leapt from the plane, they were barely visible until their parachutes burst through the clouds during their descent.
“Working together with this many partner nations gives us the chance to see what other forces do during the conduct of operations and training,” said Sgt. Maj. Robert Listau, of 7th SFG(A). “It’s a great chance to continue to build that bond and brotherhood across both military to military and military to law enforcement.”
Throughout the exercise, multiple situational training exercise lanes were set up to serve different purposes of training. The units from the partner-nation forces rotated through each station to enhance conventional force interoperability while also increasing our value as the partner of choice.
The culminating training event included a dismounted patrol, an assault on an objective, tactical combat casualty care, and an aerial medical evacuation. 7th SFG Green Berets donned their face paint, moved and “fought” alongside the partner force units while another team observed and noted the performance of the units. After the dust settled and the exercise was over, the units took note of their performance and celebrated the completion of the physically demanding, 14-day exercise.
“TRADEWINDS served as an invaluable opportunity to build interoperability amongst partners and enhanced collective security,” said the company commander for the 7th Group (A) teams participating in the exercise.
As these are our neighbors to the south, this 37th iteration of the TRADEWINDS exercise enables a coordinated response to any global challenge that we all face as a region. The United States is an enduring, committed partner with robust engagement in the region and by coming together, it allows our neighbors the ability to be ready and to rapidly respond to any challenge that arises.