Forty-eight soldiers from the New York Army National Guard traveled to Brazil on October 28 and 29 to conduct exercises with soldiers from Brazil’s 52nd Jungle Infantry Battalion and 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
According to 1st Lt. Elliott Zalewski, program planning officer for the New York National Guard, the main action of Exercise Southern Vanguard 24 is taking place near Macaba in the Amazon Delta.
1st Lt. Zalewski said the Brazilian battalion, an infantry company, and other soldiers of the 101st Division will conduct tactical exercises in the Amazon rainforest.
The exercise will allow the New York National Guard to continue to develop its relationship with Brazil under the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program, according to U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Isabelle Smith, director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the New York National Guard.
“This exercise will expand and increase interoperability between the New York National Guard and Brazil,” said Maj. Gen. Smith. “We look forward to sharing knowledge and building relationships with our Brazilian partners.”
The New York National Guard and the Brazilian Armed Forces signed a state partnership program agreement in 2019.
Southern Vanguard exercises are organized by US Army South and link elements of the US Army with South American armed forces.
For example, the Southern Vanguard 23 exercise was conducted in Columbia with the Georgia and Illinois Army National Guards.
The New York Air National Guard’s 105th Airlift Wing flew soldiers to and from Brazil in C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.
The 466th Medical Company will provide medical services and the 138th Public Affairs Wing will conduct public relations activities during the exercise.
The 53rd Digital Communications Wing, soldiers trained to communicate with other countries’ military forces, will serve as the operations wing of the Brazilian battalion.
Field artillerymen and Brazilians will work to coordinate fire support operations.
Thirty-eight New York Army National Guard soldiers will participate in a three-day wilderness survival exercise along with members of the 101st Airborne Division on the outskirts of Bethlehem.
1st Lt. Zalewski said soldiers from the 53rd Digital Communications Wing will not participate in the course because they are on duty as headquarters staff.
Since entering into a state partnership with Brazil, the New York Air National Guard has sent aircraft and personnel to participate in Brazilian exercises and Air Guardsmen specializing in space operations have worked with their Brazilian counterparts.
Soldiers and Airmen from New York attended the Jungle Warfare School in Brazil, and in May soldiers from the New York Army Guard participated in Operation Parana, an international civil response military exercise in Brazil.
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