Army South commander, Colombian army leaders reinforce strong bonds
January 23, 2013
BOGOTA, Colombia -- U.S. Army South's commanding general, Maj. Gen. Frederick S. Rudesheim, traveled to Bogota, Colombia, Jan. 21-25 where he met with the U.S. Ambassador, P. Michael McKinley, took part in discussions with key leaders in the Colombian army and visited various military installations.
After meeting with McKinley, Rudesheim spent the majority of his trip building relationships with key Colombian army leaders including Gen. Sergio Mantilla, Colombian army commander; Maj. Gen. Javier E. Rey, Colombian army director of operations; Maj. Gen. Juan Carlos Salazar, Colombian army director of logistics; Brig. Gen. Jorge A. Salgado, Colombian army director of plans; and Brig. Gen. Mauricio R. Zulauga, Colombian army commander of Center of Technical Intelligence.
Rudesheim and the Colombian army leaders discussed a range of important topics aimed at establishing a framework for supporting capacity-building for improved citizen security in the Western Hemisphere.
"The Colombians have shouldered heavy burdens when it comes to narcoterrorism and transnational organized crime within the region," said Rudesheim. "Personally meeting with them allows us the opportunity to discuss ways in which we can increase our security cooperation, as well as contribute to regional stability and constructive relations."
During 2012, Army South and the Colombian army displayed their commitment to building and sustaining enduring partnerships during several interactions including the annual Army bilateral Staff Talks in Bogota in March, an aviation and maintenance rotary wing subject matter expert exchange in April and a visit to the Army South headquarters by Colombian War College students in August.
"Colombia is one of our closest partners in the hemisphere and our interaction with the Colombian army during this past year exemplifies that our military relations with them are excellent," said Maj. Michael L. Burgoyne, U.S. Army South Andean Ridge desk officer. "Major General Rudesheim [had] the opportunity to hear their perspective regarding regional security issues of mutual concern."
This most recent interaction between U.S. and Colombian army leaders stands as a testament to the strong bond between the two partners, according to Rudesheim.
"Our military relations with Colombia are excellent and we enjoy a strong partnership enhanced by the positive security cooperation activities between our nations and regional partners," said Rudesheim.
This past August, the Colombian army also played a key role in Army South's Fuerzas Aliadas PANAMAX exercise when more than 50 Colombian military personnel travelled to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to lead the land component portion of the exercise for the second year in a row. PANAMAX brings together sea, air and land forces in a joint and combined operation focused on defending the Panama Canal from attacks by a violent extremist organization as well as responding to natural disasters and pandemic outbreaks in various locations.