SAN JOSE, Guatemala (NNS) -- A Security Force Assistance (SFA) Mobile Training Team (MTT) detachmented from the Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training (MCAST) command concluded two weeks of teaching small boat operations to the Fuerza Especial Naval (FEN) of the Guatemalan Navy on Aug. 26.
Through the use of a translator and textbooks converted into Spanish, a trio of MCAST Sailors successfully taught 40 FEN and Guatemalan sailors how to maneuver their 32-foot Boston Whaler patrol boats to protect high value assets, as well as, tactically engage and use strategic formations to defend themselves from enemy threats.
Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class (EXW/SW) Everett H. Lyons, from Bloomfield, N.J., was one of the instructors teaching the level two small boat operations course to the FEN and Guatemalan sailors.
"One of the main things we taught them was to think about communications and mission planning before they even go out there," Lyons said. "We also taught them how to work in tight groups and formations."
Lyons said the FEN and Guatemalan sailors were already highly trained before MCAST arrived, but now have even more skill sets to choose from.
The FEN regularly apprehends sea faring drug runners attempting to ship cocaine from Columbia abroad. Reuters reported on the FEN's most recent addition of seized boats, which was a four-man semisubmersible from Columbia that housed five tons of cocaine bound for U.S. soil on July 12, 2010. The FEN, working in conjunction with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, seized the submarine off the Pacific coast of Guatemala.
The Commandant of the Naval Pacific Command in Guatemala, Capt. Carlos Antonio Lainfiesta Soto, said the FEN and Guatemalan sailors greatly appreciate every opportunity they get to work with and learn from the U.S. Navy.
The shores of Guatemala are known for a high volume of drug traffickers. "Some of it also stays in Guatemala and generates an indescribable wave of violence," Lainfiesta Soto said. "We are convinced that these types of threats require countries to create a common front to face and eradicate them as we continue to protect the people and integrity of these nations."
When SFA detachments from the MCAST command, they collaborate with foreign militaries in support of security cooperation and foreign internal defense missions. The cooperative engagements include topics such as small boat operations and tactics, maritime combat operations, weapons handling, anti-terrorism and force protection, maintenance and construction, and officer and non-commissioned officer professional development and leadership. This training is one of many military-to-military exchanges planned in the coming years between MCAST and the U.S. Navy's strategic partners in Guatemala.
For more information on the MCAST command, visit www.mcast.navy.mil or www.facebook.com/pages/Maritime-Civil-Affairs-and-Security-Training-MCAST-Command/165833618708?ref=nf.
For more news from Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/MCAST/.