JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Nations spanning across Latin America and the Caribbean sent members of their security forces to Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston to build and strengthen partnerships during a week-long training exercise in August.
PANAMAX, as this exercise is known, began in 2003 with only Chile, Panama and the United States conducting a maritime security exercise focused on the Panama Canal. The exercise has grown exponentially over the past 19 years to become the largest coalition command post exercise in the region.
Staff Sgt. Neldon Lara, an intelligence analyst from the Belize Defense Force, discussed his experience during PANAMAX and explained that rank and nationality were not barriers to success but that everyone worked together with shared responsibilities throughout the exercise.
“We met a couple of comrades from other countries, we were NCOs and they were officers, and even though they had higher rank, we had good interactions with them and they treated us as equals,” Lara said. “When we go back home we will share what we learned with other NCOs so they are prepared for future exercises or something real.”
During the closing ceremony of PANAMAX, senior leaders provided remarks focused on lessons learned throughout the exercise and emphasizing the importance of conducting multinational training exercises in the future.