By: Ashley Black
After an exceptional contribution to Exercise TRADEWINDS 2015, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members have been recognized by the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard.
Members of the TRADEWINDS 2015 Maritime Team were awarded the US Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation for their support and participation in the US-led exercise that focuses on countering transnational organized crime in the Caribbean.A total of 64 Defence Team members were among the 160 recipients who were part of the overall TRADEWINDS 2015 Maritime Team, being recognized for showcasing the exercise’s potential within the framework of maritime operations.
|LS Vanessa Conde Torres, Marine Engineering Systems Operator on HMCS Glace Bay, stabilizes a member of the US Coast Guard as he operates the fire hose at maximum power during Ex TRADEWINDS in St. Kitts and Nevis, June 2015.|
“The TRADEWINDS 2015 Maritime Team distinguished themselves as true professionals and showcased the Coast Guard’s unique capabilities while expertly demonstrating how the service fits into the great US Joint and Combined force,” reads the official commendation citation.
Ex TRADEWINDS helps strengthen relationships of partner nations in North America and the Western Hemisphere. This annual exercise allows for Canadian and American forces to promote regional security co-operation by training and supporting regional nations in the Caribbean community.
A CAF contingent consisting of HMCS Glace Bay and a dive training team from Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) participated from May 31 to June 24, 2015, in the maritime portion of TRADEWINDS 15. Thirty-four members of the Canadian Army were also an integral part of the CAF contingent, leading and participating in land-based training serials for partner nations.CAF members assisted training regional partners in areas such as first aid, weapon usage, suspect vessel tracking and boarding procedures, group diving tactics, and live-fire ranges during the exercise.
Lieutenant-Commander Stephan Julien, former commanding officer of the Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic), noted that much of the exercise’s success can be attributed to the enthusiasm of partner nations.
“Our partner nations were very professional and welcoming. They were very eager to learn new skills to enhance the knowledge that they already had. On the tactical side, the relationship is always great,” he said.
“When you analyze the area, you realize that the issue is not capability but capacity. Our goal is combatting transnational organized crime; we help build their regional security capacity so they can operate internally to deal with security issues. This is our long-term strategy,” said Clayton Purvis, the lead exercise planner on Ex TRADEWINDS.
This year, Exercise TRADEWINDS 2016 will continue to further the goal of helping partner nations in the Caribbean increase their capacity to operate independently and promote regional security. The upcoming exercise will run from June 5 to 28 in Grenada and Jamaica.