June 13, 2019
Approximately 30 U.S. Marines and Sailors with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Southern Command (SPMAGTF-SC), the natural disaster rapid response force assigned to U.S. Southern Command, will arrive in Guatemala on June 14 for a five-month joint training exercise in how to provide humanitarian assistance during a natural disaster. The SPMAGTF-SC service members will work in San Marcos, where they will partner with the Guatemalan military and civilian authorities to practice rebuilding damaged infrastructure. The participants will work together to rebuild three schools near Coatapeque, benefitting hundreds of Guatemalan students.
SPMAGTF’s training exercise in Guatemala is part of a region-wide exercise that involves almost 300 U.S. Marines training with local partners in Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras. Representatives from Brazil, Colombia, and Peru will also participate.
This is the fifth consecutive year SPMAGTF-SC has deployed to the region. This deployment will also serve as another major step in developing a multinational maritime task force that will enhance disaster response in and around Latin America and the Caribbean, as multiple partner nation officers have been selected to be a part of the SPMAGTF-SC staff.
SPMAGTF-SC’s mission is to work with partner nations to build capacity to effectively and quickly respond to natural disasters and other crisis situations. Each year’s exercise enables the United States and its partners to improve regional cooperation and facilitate disaster relief operations in case of a major disaster.