An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : News
NEWS | Aug. 1, 2023

ARSOUTH Soldiers help conduct multinational public affairs training workshop with Guyana Defense Force

By Staff Sgt. Christopher Saunders 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

U.S. Army South and Missouri Army National Guard soldiers held a public affairs training workshop with the Guyana Defense Force July 12-14, 2023, in Georgetown, Guyana. This workshop was conducted in preparation for the TRADEWINDS23 exercise that took place from July 15-27, 2023, throughout Guyana.

Situated along the Caribbean Sea, Guyana is located between Venezuela and Suriname on the north-central coast of South America. Established in 1965, the Guyana military consists of about 4,200 volunteer soldiers stationed at numerous land, sea, and air bases nationwide. With the motto of "Service," the GDF supplies vital emergency community resources like medical evacuation flights and creates civil infrastructure like roads.

Private Ron Hope, a GDF public relations photographer, has served for over two years. He says his military experience has been very positive.

"Ever since I was a boy, I wanted to join the military," Hope said. When he was selected to be a public relations photographer for the GDF, Hope says he knew nothing about photography, but since then, he's grown a lot.

Hope said that during the workshop, he could not only better his photography and videography skills but also see what else public affairs soldiers do day-to-day, like writing, mission planning, and strategic communication.

"It's a lot of new information, so it can be a bit challenging," Hope said. "But this training has helped me enhance my skills, and I'm very grateful for taking part in it."

After two days of classroom learning and practical exercises, the GDF members held an on-camera interview with Brigadier Omar Khan, Chief of Staff of the GDF. The interview focused on what's needed to make a more inclusive GDF for female soldiers and was mediated by female Staff Sgt. Shibekie Benjamin, Department of the Sergeant Major, GDF.

The public affairs workshop was tailored toward photo and video content production concerning command priorities. It also served as an opportunity to exchange best practices for establishing and maintaining community and media relations before the start of TW23.

The training was not without its challenges. "Becoming accustomed to new equipment was very difficult," said Private Justin Bisnauth, GDF public relations photographer. However, Bisnauth discussed how this training is similar to real life. "Sometimes you're using unfamiliar equipment, and you have to figure it out," said Bisnauth.

Since the opening ceremony on July 15, the Army South-led exercise of over 1500 military and civilian personnel from over 20 countries have trained in various scenarios and environments. Engaging in these unified ground, air, sea, and cyber unified responses is meant to enhance cohesion and disaster response between participating nations.

When asked about his experiences so far during the TW23 exercise, Bisnauth said that the experience of going out into the field and working with military forces from other countries was all inspiring.

Since the beginning of TW23, the GDF public affairs team has traveled throughout Guyana, covering various large-scale exercises of multinational involvement. Numerous publications and local media have picked up their photo products.