Chilean Officer joins U.S. Army South team
October 2, 2008
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - U.S. Army South is another step closer to becoming a western-hemisphere, international organization by adding a second foreign officer to its staff.
Col. Juan Carlos Ramirez, the former Chief of Staff of the Chilean Army Corps of Engineers, began working as a Foreign Liaison Officer at U.S. Army South, the Army component of U.S. Southern Command, on July 8. Ramirez holds a bachelor's degree in military studies from the Chilean Army War College and earned a master's degree in strategic planning and strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. He is also qualified as a tactical diver, an explosive ordnance disposal specialist, and a staff officer in the Chilean Army.
"I am morally obligated to do my best to collaborate with my U.S. counterparts and ensure the relationship between both armies grows stronger," said Ramirez. "I hope to offer my perspective on various situations involving U.S. Army South and Latin American countries so our leaders can be well-informed and make the best decisions possible."
Ramirez's responsibilities as a FLO include coordinating a wide range of activities between U.S. Army South and the Chilean Army. These activities consist of joint and tactical exercises that include the Chilean Army and regional initiatives such as the Conference of American Armies, an organization that seeks to promote the exchange of ideas and experiences related to matters of common interest and an increase in cooperation and integration between Armies.
"My mission as the liaison officer is to ensure these activities are successfully accomplished in the most efficient way possible," said Ramirez.
According to his U.S. counterparts, the addition of Ramirez to the U.S. Army South staff is already paying dividends.
"Chile is a great nation with a highly skilled and professional Army," said Lt. Col. Antonio J. Vazquez, Southern Cone Team, International Military Affairs.
"The addition of Colonel Ramirez to the U.S. Army South family facilitates military-to-military relations and helps to better understand each other. He is a superb officer and an extraordinary human being."
Ramirez said he is also impressed with what he's seen so far of his U.S. Army South colleagues.
"I am very pleased to work with such highly professional personnel," said Ramirez. "Each day I see how knowledgeable they are and how strong their desire is to integrate with partner nations."
Those working closest to Ramirez on a daily basis admire him on both professional and personal levels.
"Besides his exceptional professional qualities, he possesses an uncompromising set of personal values, a great sense of humor and a very positive attitude," said Vazquez.
Ramirez's ultimate goal is "to see that engagement activities between the two countries are carried out as effectively as possible" and that he "be able to justify unmistakably that my presence here makes a positive difference and meets everyone's expectations."
Ramirez follows in the footsteps of Brazilian Lt. Col. Raul Rodrigues de Oliveira who was assigned to U.S. Army South last February. Others are expected in the future as agreements are finalized with partner armies.