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NEWS | Sept. 7, 2021

Army South hosts 2nd Operation Alamo Shield Mission Prep for rotating Security Force Assistance Teams

By Leanne Thomas U.S. Army South Public Affairs

U.S. Army South hosted the second pre-deployment training seminar, Operation Alamo Shield Mission Prep, at their headquarters Aug. 31-Sept. 1 to prepare teams assigned to the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade for future training and advising missions in Colombia, Honduras and Panama.

As the Joint Forces Land Component Command for U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Army South serves as the higher headquarters for the Security Force Assistance teams in the USSOUTHCOM area of responsibility, as they build U.S. readiness by conducting expeditionary deployment operations in partner nations. This supports training on SFA mission essential tasks and partner nation efforts in the region.

“Heel-to-toe rotations of Security Force Assistance teams reduce the time available for face-to-face transition and institutional knowledge between advisors,” said Maj. Alex Zerio, the lead planner for Operation Alamo Shield Mission Prep II. “To limit the loss of tacit advisor knowledge, U.S. Army South directed the establishment of a USSOUTHCOM-specific academics program that increases regional awareness, explains policy guidance, and illuminates lessons learned from previous SFA activities for the deploying teams.”

During the two-day conference, the incoming SFA teams received a broad overview of the future deployments and attended briefings to address force protection, authorities, operations, sustainment and diplomatic information significant to each country and U.S. Embassy.

“We definitely want to thank you for all you did and for making this an extremely beneficial trip for us to come down here,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher J. Williams, the senior enlisted advisor for 2nd Battalion, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, as he addressed the Army South presenters, as well as his team listening to the seminar, virtually, from Fort Benning, Ga.

The 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade began supporting USSOUTHCOM with initial training and advising visits in the region last year. These advising teams are specially selected and trained to assess, support, advise and liaise with partners in Central and South America. In addition, they provide assistance based on the partner militaries’ operational and institutional needs.

“We are really looking forward to working with you,” said Maj. Gen. William L. Thigpen, U.S. Army South commanding general. “We are here to support you throughout the mission, and we’ll make sure you have all the resources you need.”

Security Force Assistance teams provide USSOUTHCOM and our partners across the Western Hemisphere the opportunity to display our resolve and demonstrate a mutual commitment to regional peace, respect for sovereignty and an enduring promise to uphold shared ideals and values.