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Capstone class pays visit to Soto Cano

Army Brig. Gen. John Johnson, a Capstone participant, is given an overview of the Honduran air force Academy's aircraft by Honduran 2nd Lt. Rolando Rzunga Bode, during a visit to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. Capstone participants traveled throughout the U.S. Southern Command's Area of Responsbility. At each stop, particpants met with U.S. Ebassy members as well as foreign political and military leadership. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shaun Emery.

Army Brig. Gen. John Johnson, a Capstone participant, is given an overview of the Honduran air force Academy's aircraft by Honduran 2nd Lt. Rolando Rzunga Bode, during a visit to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. Capstone participants traveled throughout the U.S. Southern Command's Area of Responsbility. At each stop, particpants met with U.S. Ebassy members as well as foreign political and military leadership. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shaun Emery.

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- Some of the military's newly selected flag and general officers visited here Aug. 14 during a two-week tour of the Western hemisphere as part a six-week Capstone program.

The object of the course is to train individuals on effective planning and employment of U.S. forces. During the course participants will deal with major issues affecting national security decision making, military strategy, joint/combined doctrine, interoperability, and key allied nation issues. 

As part of the course participants of Capstone travel extensively, visiting key U.S. military commands in the United States and abroad, where they meet with commanders, U.S. ambassadors and embassy personnel and the senior political and military leaders of foreign governments to gain insight on their current state of affairs. 

During the fourth and fifth weeks of the course, the 45-member class is broken into three groups. One group travels to the Pacific, one to Europe and the other tours the Western Hemisphere. 

Before returning to Andrews AFB, Va., Capstone participants traveling through the Western hemisphere will have visited Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Guantanamo Bay, Key West and Honduras. 

Touching down at Soto Cano AB, Capstone members met Joint Task Force-Bravo senior leadership. They were briefed on the Honduran air force academy's mission and equipment, the Joint Task Force-Bravo mission and toured the base before heading to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to meet with embassy personnel and Honduran senior political and military leaders. 

"For many of these general officers, it is their first time in the United States Southern Command Area of Responsibility," said Army Lt. Col. Dryfus Lane, Capstone deputy director. "It's been an eye opening experience. They will learn about the political, military and economic aspects of the countries in Central and South America." 

Retired Marine Gen. Tom Morgan, who traveled with the Capstone members, said the goal of the trip is to give an orientation of the Americas to the new generals. 

"They are getting a situational overview of the SOUTHCOM region," he said. "During their meetings with foreign officials, they are provided with a picture of those countries relationships with their neighbors as well as their relationship with the U.S." 

Many of the visiting generals said they were impressed with the Joint Task Force-Bravo mission. 

"The scope of what is done here is impressive," said Army Brig. Gen. Del Turner, a Capstone participant. "I was not fully aware of all the activities that happen day to day here." 

That new awareness will be vital when the time comes for the new generals to report to a new assignment, said Mr. Morgan. 

"They will have a better understanding of the political, economical and military situation here because they've experienced it first-hand," he said.





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