820th Security Forces Group engages in joint training with Jamaican Defence Forces
By Kevin Walston , Operation Southern Partner Public Affairs
/ Published June 13, 2009
KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Members of the 820th Security Forces Group from Moody AFB, Ga. joined forces this week with their Jamaican Defence Force counterparts for an exchange of ideas focused on the improvement of joint tactics and procedures.
The mission, part of Operation Southern Partner which ends Saturday, focused on urban tactics, small team movements in built-up areas, building entry and clearing and dynamic target acquisition, said Capt. Don Bartholomew, 820th Security Forces Group operations officer.
"In small team movements, which are essential to almost all our operations, we try and standardize operating procedures," B Bartholomew said. "We took a look at their procedures and discussed the differences between how we conduct operations versus the way they do it."
There weren't many major differences between how the Air Force Security Forces and the Jamaican Defence Forces conduct operations, Bartholomew said, adding that "small team movements are a very perishable skill and it's always good to reemphasize the fundamentals necessary for success."
2nd Lt. Ernest Richards, 1st Battalion, Jamaican Defense Force, said the training provided his soldiers with not only insight into how U.S. security forces conduct operations, but also additional tools that they can employ during operations here.
"Some of our soldiers have been involved in crisis operations before, while others have little to no experience," Richards said. "This mutual sharing of information is something that we've looked forward to, and I feel it'll have a great impact on our soldiers in the future."
Clearing and rendering a building safe is one of the most dangerous aspects of urban warfare because communications and situational awareness are keys to success, Bartholomew said.
"Situational awareness helps you utilize the necessary force depending upon the scenario," he said. "You've got to quickly distinguish the difference between hostiles and non-hostiles... our goal is to conduct effective operations with everyone walking away safely. "
Richards said he feels participation in Operation Southern Partner has strengthened the bonds between the forces, and has accustomed everyone to a new set of tactics many had not thought of.
"(This) has enhanced our breadth of experience and has accustomed us to perhaps a different set of tactics many had not thought of," he said. "From weapons handling to the best ways to maneuver in tight spaces, it's been extremely beneficial."
Operation Southern Partner began on May 31, and ends June 13th. A 12th Air Force-led operation, it provided intensive, subject matter exchanges with partner nation Air Forces in the U.S. Southern Command area of operations. The exchanges covered several different specialties interfacing with not only host-nation experts in Jamaica, but also Barbados, Guyana, St. Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago and Belize.