This year's Fuerzas Comando special operations forces competition brought competitors and key leaders together as families, partners and friends, the commander of U.S. Southern Command said July 27. 2017.

Navy Adm. Kurt W. Tidd spoke during the competition's closing ceremony.

Paraguay hosted Fuerzas Comando this year. The competition was first held in El Salvador in 2004 with 13 participating countries. Twenty nations sent teams to compete this year: Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States and Uruguay.

Honduras placed first in this year's competition, with Colombia in second place and the United States taking third.

Special Forces

Leading a round of applause for the teams, Tidd, in prepared remarks, spoke directly to the competitors.

"Fuerzas Comando stands apart from the rest of our multinational exercises," the admiral said. "There's no other exercise like it. It brings together an elite group of warriors from 20 nations to pit their impressive physical and mental skills against one another."

He called it an awesome display of physical fitness, weapons marksmanship, tactical capabilities and, above all, teamwork and cooperation.

"For the past week, the best of the best have challenged one another, bested one another and learned from one another," Tidd said. "No matter which unit we belong to or what our specialty is, when we join in exercises like these, we become stronger together."

Fuerzas Comando

Each competing team consisted of a four-man assault team, a two-man sniper team, and an alternate in case of injury or illness. Each competing nation provided a judge to ensure the evaluation was fair and balanced, according to a fact sheet from the U.S. Embassy Paraguay.

The teams competed in events that included physical fitness tests; various live-fire events measuring speed, accuracy and decision-making; precision sniper fire at known and unknown distances; combined assault; an obstacle course; a 14-kilometer team event; and a 20-kilometer ruck march.

Fuezas Comando 2017 came to a close with an airborne operation -- a friendship jump -- at Ñu Guasú Air Base yesterday and the closing ceremony today for all competitors and senior leader seminar participants.

This year's motto was "La fuerza que nos une," "Mbarate ñane moirûva" or "The strength that unites us," the fact sheet said.

Global Network

In his remarks, Tidd said Fuerzas Comando is a link in a global network that brings together the Western Hemisphere's special operations forces and key leadership into an interlocking 'tribe of families,' partners and true friends.

"From the snowy north of Canada to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, this extended family works together seamlessly, shares information freely and trusts one another implicitly," the admiral said.

The most valuable outcomes of Fuerzas Comando are the trust built and friendships forged, he added, noting that such trust is a key asset in the face of complex, transnational challenges.

"Fuerzas Comando also teaches us that we must work ever harder to build, cultivate and expand our own friendly network of regional and international partners committed to the same goals, Tidd said.

Panama will host next year's Fuerzas Comando competition, the admiral said.