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Home : News : News
NEWS | April 16, 2024

US, Chilean armies set stage for inaugural exercise Southern Fenix 2024

By Maj. Nadine Wiley De Moura U.S. Army South Public Affairs

The U.S. and Chilean armies, along with civilian planners from U.S. Army South, 11th Airborne Division, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade and Texas Army National Guard, conducted a mid-planning conference for exercise Southern Fenix 2024, April 1-5, 2024, in Iquique, Chile.

Southern Fenix 2024 is a bi-lateral exercise between the two countries. This will be the first U.S. Army-led exercise where the U.S. Army M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, platform is deployed to the United States Southern Command area of operation, piloting new warfighting concepts in partnership with the Chilean Army.

“Southern Fenix 24 is the first of its kind for the U.S. Army in the Southern Command area of operations,” said Col. Charles Karels, U.S. Army South training and exercise director.

“HIMARS deployments are common in other theaters but training with this strategic asset with our Chilean partners is a major opportunity to increase our interoperability and training and deployment readiness.”

The five-day planning conference, held in Tarapacá, the northern region of Chile, was aimed at gaining a shared understanding of Chilean Army and U.S. Army logistical requirements, exercise scenarios and training objectives for the forthcoming bilateral event that will take place in August of 2024.

The Chilean terrain provides the U.S. Army with an opportunity to conduct theater level sustainment in support of combined operations in a coastal desert area.

The exercise aims to increase Chilean Army and U.S. Army technical and procedural interoperability while strengthening hemispheric cooperation and collaboration in alignment with the U.S. Southern Command campaign plan and U.S. National Defense Strategy.

“The objective of Southern Fenix 2024 is to execute a field training exercise combining units of the Chilean Army and [U.S.] Army South in a fictitious context of [military operations other than war] related to an adversary with unconventional characteristics.” said Commander in Chief of the 6th Division of the Chilean Army, Brig. Gen. Ruben Castillo Herrera.

He added that training of Chilean troops and executing this exercise with the United States Army is motivating and makes him proud.

The coordination of the exercise between Chilean Army and U.S. Army planners was held in the facilities of the Armored Combat Training Center.

Approximately 200 U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to U.S. Army South, 11th Airborne Division, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade, Texas Army National Guard and New York Army National Guard Soldiers will train alongside over 500 Chilean army personnel assigned to the 6th Division.


The exercise includes the expeditionary deployment of a U.S. Army M142 HIMARS section, a fire direction center and a U.S. Army Airborne company.

Southern Fenix 2024 provides a different theater of operations for the 11th Airborne Division paratroopers to demonstrate their expertise in partnering with foreign counterparts to fight and win in an austere environment. The 11th Airborne Division is an Indo-Pacific-aligned unit with extensive experience working with partner nations across their respective area of responsibility.

“The 11th Airborne Division is the Army’s only Arctic-focused unit and provides the only airborne capability to the Indo-Pacific,” said U.S. Army Maj. Leah Ganoni, 11th Airborne Division public affairs officer.

“That requires the ability to quickly project troops throughout the Arctic, the European and Indo-Pacific theaters, and the world, including the high-altitude environments we’ll see here in the Atacama Desert.”

The ability to quickly partner with an allied force to deliver a strategic asset and conduct HIMARS rapid infiltration, anytime and anywhere demonstrates the capability of airborne forces to provide commanders tailorable and scalable options.

“The strategic and rapid deployment of Airborne forces cannot be dismissed. As a unit aligned against Indo-PACOMs immediate response force, we are counted on to remain ready to deploy on short notice,” Ganoni said.


“Paratroopers share an instant bond, no matter what nation they come from. That bond comes from shared values of discipline, physical fitness and mental toughness and that’s going to be on display in Chile for Southern Fenix 2024, proving the 11th Airborne Division can deploy and partner with allies anywhere in the world.”

The next pivotal milestone in the Southern Fenix 2024 planning process will be the final planning conference in July.

“The Chilean Army is an excellent partner and exercises like Southern Fenix provide opportunities for U.S. Army forces to train with our most capable partners in the region,” Karels said.