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News | March 19, 2023

CENTAM Guardian 23 kicks off with an opening ceremony

By Sgt. 1st Class Iman Broady-Chin, U.S. Army South

Guatemala City, Guatemala – CENTAM Guardian 2023 (CG23) officially kicked-off with the opening ceremony including the Guatemalan, Honduran, El Salvadoran and U.S. Forces on March 18, 2023.

CENTAM Guardian is an annual U.S. Army South – led, joint, multinational exercise which takes place at various locations in Central America and the Caribbean. The exercise addresses common security threats, further develops information sharing amongst the multinational coordination cell, and reinforces regional stability and interoperability with allied forces, which also results in benefits to the people of Guatemala.

The opening ceremony included the Arkansas Army National Guard Land Component Commander; Brig. Gen. Leland Shepherd, USSOUTHCOM J79 Director of Exercises and Coalition Affairs; Kevin Bostick, Guatemalan Deputy Chief of Staff, Defense Ministry; Gen. Ardany Bautista Fuentes, and the Coronel de Infanteria DEM; Raul Anibal Pineda Penate.

Gen. Ardany Bautista Fuentes addressed attending participants, “As a military member, I can say that there's nothing like being in this training exercise. I want to thank the U.S. Military for their support and the training skills our military is gaining. This training proves that the U.S. military and other surrounding countries have good intentions to keep moving forward and stop all threats affecting the world.”

CG23 brings military advisors, and interagency partners from around the U.S. to Guatemala for training with Guatemalan, Honduran, and El Salvadoran military partners to enhance multi-domain rapid response security operations, and to strengthen hemispheric cooperation and collaboration between military/security forces in the USSOUTHCOM Area of Responsibility (AOR).

Soldiers and interagency partners conducting the exercise will employ specific occupational skills such as special operations, naval warfare, military intelligence, K-9 handlers, cyber warfare, medics, civil affairs, aviation and support personnel, to employ real world based scenarios for partner nation militaries to exercise, assess, and update tactics and procedures.

Brig. Gen. Leland Shepherd ended his comments by saying, “The training opportunities associated with CENTAM Guardian create a legacy of partnerships and help establish personal relationships that will go on for years to come. They enable us to meet any challenge and continue to build trust together, counter threats together, and build our teams together.”

Phase one of CG23 will end after the culminating exercise and closing ceremony on March 28.