The 14th year of the Fuerzas Comando special operations forces competition brought competitors and key leaders from 20 countries together in a difficult training exercise last week in Paraguay. This competition pits the best teams of each countries Special Operations Forces competed against the other nations’ teams in the SOUTHCOM (US Southern Command) area of operations.
Although the competition is tough, the teams bonded as families, partners, and friends, said Navy Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, the commander of U.S. Southern Command said today.
Paraguay hosted Fuerzas Comando this year. The competition was first held in El Salvador in 2004 with 13 participating countries. Twenty nations sent teams to compete this year: Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States and Uruguay.
Honduras placed first in this year’s competition, with Colombia in second place and the United States taking third.
Leading a round of applause for the teams, Tidd, in prepared remarks, spoke directly to the competitors.
“Fuerzas Comando stands apart from the rest of our multinational exercises,” the admiral said. “There’s no other exercise like it. It brings together an elite group of warriors from 20 nations to pit their impressive physical and mental skills against one another.”
He called it an awesome display of physical fitness, weapons marksmanship, tactical capabilities and, above all, teamwork, and cooperation.
“For the past week, the best of the best have challenged one another, bested one another and learned from one another,” Tidd said. “No matter which unit we belong to or what our specialty is, when we join in exercises like these, we become stronger together.”
Each competing team consisted of a four-man assault team, a two-man sniper team, and an alternate in case of injury or illness. Each competing nation provided a judge to ensure the evaluation was fair and balanced, according to a fact sheet from the U.S. Embassy Paraguay.
The teams competed in events that included physical fitness tests; various live-fire events measuring speed, accuracy, and decision-making; precision sniper fire at known and unknown distances; combined assault; an obstacle course; a 14-kilometer team event; and a 20-kilometer ruck march.
Fuezas Comando 2017 came to a close with an airborne operation — a friendship jump — at Ñu Guasú Air Base yesterday and the closing ceremony today for all competitors and senior leader seminar participants.
This year’s motto was “La fuerza que nos une,” “Mbarate ñane moirûva” or “The strength that unites us,” the fact sheet said.
The annual exercise forges deep friendships within the Special Operations community of the countries involved and not builds trust, but serves as an invaluable tool as the best SOF forces learn to work together. Next year’s competition will be held in Panama.
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Photo courtesy US Army