WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 24, 2010) - U.S. Army South soldiers joined their Brazilian army brethren and 30,000 other runners from around the world here Oct. 24 to compete in the U.S. Army's premiere running event, the 26th Annual Army Ten-Miler.

Beginning and ending at the Pentagon, the Army South soldiers ran their way through the nation's capitol along with their counterparts from the Brazilian Army Team. Despite being on different running teams, a bond exists among the soldiers from opposite ends of the Americas.

"We have a strong relationship with our partner nations' armies," said Capt. Randall Blakeslee, U.S. Army South, Special Troops Battalion personnel officer. "This event gives us an opportunity to participate in something fun together and it's a big deal to us."

The mission of U.S. Army South is to conduct operations and theater security cooperation to detect, deter, and disrupt transnational threats in order to protect the United States of America and enhance hemispheric security. U.S. Army South conducts contingency operations and as directed serves as a Joint Forces Land Component Command or Joint Task Force.

Essential to the accomplishment of this mission is strong regional cooperation among partner nations in order to identify how each can assist in enhancing overall capabilities in the region.

"Our friendship with U.S. Army South is very important to us," said Brazilian Army Col. Marco Potengy de Mello, the Brazilian Army Team manager. "U.S. Army South supported our visit here and our relationship remains very strong."

With three full-time liaison officers from the armies of Brazil, Chile and Colombia working in Army South headquarters at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the command is accustomed to maintaining a close relationship with their partner nations' armies.

"We always work great together," said Master Sgt. Elva Marquez, Army South Medical Office noncommissioned officer in charge. "It was important that we come together in a competitive-type event," she said of the race. "We already have a great relationship and this just enhances the relationship we have with them."

The Brazilians agreed with Marquez adding that participating in the Army Ten-Miler was about more than competing in a race.

"It's very important to us to participate due to our friendship with U.S. Army South," said Brazilian Army Third Sgt. Clodoaldo Gomes. "This was my first time participating in the Army Ten-Miler and I hope to return next year."

A key tenet of the Army Ten-Miler's mission is to build esprit de corps. The Army South and Brazilian Army teams took advantage of the opportunity.

"It strengthens the relationships that we already have," said Blakeslee. "I think it's something that contributes to our mission overall."

Page last updated Tue November 9th, 2010 at 13:57