JBSA-FORT SAM HOUSTON –
The commander of the Missouri Army National Guard's 35th Engineer Brigade visited U.S. Army South's headquarters Nov. 30 to strengthen the 35th's contingency support brigade relationship with the command.
Brig. Gen. Randy Alewel received briefings from key Army South leaders and met with Maj. Gen. Frederick S. Rudesheim, ARSOUTH commanding general.
The 35th Engineer Brigade supports Army South's mission, including the annual Beyond the Horizon exercise, which took place this past year in Guatemala and Honduras.
"We'd like to believe that we're an asset to Army South that brings additional capabilities, coordination and synchronization to make it easier for the exercises that Army South does, while at the same time increasing our Soldiers' experience as they conduct their training," Alewel said.
Missouri National Guardsmen from the 35th Engineer Brigade deployed to Guatemala and Honduras in April as part of the three-month Beyond the Horizon exercise and constructed or renovated schools and medical clinics.
Beyond the Horizon is an annual Army South exercise which deploys military engineers, civil affairs personnel, medical professionals and other support personnel to rural areas in countries within the command's area of responsibility.
Army South is the Army service component command for U.S. Southern Command and BTH is part of SOUTHCOM's humanitarian and civic assistance program.
More than 2,000 personnel from the U.S. active, Reserve and National Guard forces participated in BTH 2012.
"We (Soldiers of the Army National Guard and Reserve) are an economical force multiplier so the more we can show our expertise and provide benefit into the theater down here, the better off we are when dealing with budget constraints," Alewel said.
"On the other side, we are very capable with our Soldiers who are out there and it gives them the opportunity to finely tune and hone their skills in a challenging and realistic environment."
BTH exercises provide personnel with the opportunities to train in austere environments, while strengthening relationships with partner nation forces, building and sustaining capacity and at the same time providing medical, dental and engineering support.
Army South's deputy commanding general, Brig. Gen. Orlando Salinas, who is also the assistant adjutant general for the Texas Army National Guard, said Army service component commands like U.S. Army South are strengthened by partnering with the Army National Guard and Reserve.
"It has been interesting to see how closely an ASCC works with the National Guard and Reserve," Salinas said. "We need to continue to strengthen these relationships especially in this time of limited resources. We really need to ensure that we are the most cost-effective Army that we can be and show how we can integrate with each other."
During BTH 2012, U.S. engineer personnel, working alongside Guatemalan and Honduran soldiers, built four schools, renovated two others, and constructed four medical clinics.
U.S. Army South, as the Army Service Component Command for SOUTHCOM, conducts Theater Security Cooperation in order to enhance hemispheric security and stability. SOUTHCOM's area of responsibility encompasses 31 countries and 15 areas of special sovereignty in Central and South America, and the Caribbean and covers about 15.6 million square miles.