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Nicaraguan airman works combat search, rescue operations for PANAMAX 2012

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Andria Sapp
  • 183rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Maj. Garcia, operations officer for the Nicaraguan air force, participated in PANAMAX 2012 alongside Air Forces Southern, Aug. 6-17. PANAMAX is an annual U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise that focuses on ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal. One of the most important benefits of multinational exercises like PANAMAX is the fact that all the participants were able to exchange their experiences, expertise gained new knowledge about each other's culture and people. These interactions strengthen our bonds across the region and foster long-lasting friendships and an understanding among the partner nations, ultimately benefiting the security of the region.

Question: What was your role in PANAMAX 2012?

Answer: I worked in combat search and rescue, and personnel recovery.

Question: The governments of the countries participating in PANAMAX 2012 share common interests and goals. How would you define these interests and goals?

Answer: The primary goal was cooperation between the partner nations and integration. This benefited all partner nations. We were able to exercise how well the nations can operate together and can made assessments on how to better our interaction. Ideally we would work together to see how we can work from a single nucleus to better future operations.

Question: How is the security of the Panama Canal important to your country?

Answer: It is very important because it allows for imports and exports of nearby nations. Our nation commerce depends heavily on the Canal. Also, it is important because it is used by the U.S. Navy.

Question: What were the benefits of participating in this exercise?

Answer: Our doctrines differ greatly, so it is good to see how our doctrines can combine to work for a coalition. It was also beneficial to see how the scenario went from a virtual idea to a physical execution. There have been a lot of lessons learned that we will implement in our home country.

Question: What did you learn from PANAMAX 2012?

Answer: The education and training of multi-nation operational support, primarily. By training jointly we have been able to learn the entire process from cradle-to-grave and we will implement these lessons at home. I most definitely want to be able to return to PANAMAX 2013. There is much to be gained by participating in an exercise of this magnitude.