SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
Firefighters with the 612th Air Base Squadron, a unit under the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), the air force component of the United States Southern Command, hosts a new iteration of exercise CENTAM SMOKE, a biannual training exercise to enhance firefighting and rescue capabilities, August 8 – 12 at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.
The training will include participation from approximately 33 firefighters and rescue personnel from Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama and for the first time ever, Colombia. The 612th Air Base Squadron is one of Joint Task Force-Bravo’s major supporting commands and conducts operations ranging from air traffic control to airfield management and base operations.
CENTAM SMOKE, which stands for stands for Central America Sharing Mutual Operational Knowledge and Experience, allows U.S. and partner nation firefighters to come together and train as a team for five days, and prepare in firefighting techniques and best practices, as well as preparation for natural and manmade disasters in the region.
The five-day event organized by the 612th's Fire Emergency Services involves firefighting techniques and tactics, rope rescue, aircraft and structural fires, motor vehicle extrications, as well as friendly competitions such as the Fire Fighter Challenge Course, which test physical endurance and their individual and collective skills to move equipment and rescue victims rapidly and safely.
This multinational event strengthens partnerships and build trust by integrating U.S. military personnel with local and regional partners, ensuring efficient interoperability during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
As longstanding partners to the region, the U.S. Southern Command has been conducting multinational exercises across the region for over 40 years, strengthening regional capacities and readiness with partners.