Friday, April 16, 2004

DR: Miltary training in the DR

Military staff from 18 countries are receiving training in the southwest of the country. Diario Libre reports that Exercise Trade Winds is taking place this year in the DR and that as many as 2,350 foreign military are participating. The US$2.5-million annual instructional event has been held on various Caribbean islands during the months of March and April for several years now. The exercise incorporates 1,150 Dominican soldiers from regular Dominican infantry platoons along with troops primarily from the Caribbean region, as well those from the US, the UK and Holland – countries that maintain soldiers in Iraq. The soldiers are trained in jungle warfare, watermanship and airborne operations. Speaking to the press, Armed Forces Minister Jose Miguel Soto Jimenez said that the government could send another contingent to Iraq once the term of the 302 soldiers currently deployed there expires in June.

Brigadier General Jack Gardner, the deputy commanding general for the US Army Training and Doctrine Command and commander of US Army South, was on hand for the initiation of the exercise. He told Diario Libre that the US values the Dominican task-force’s efforts in Iraq. Gardner was also in El Salvador this week to deliver the body of a Salvadoran soldier killed last Sunday in Iraq.

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