By Joseph C. LeuerOctober 23, 2018
FORT BENNING, GA.--1990 was a pivotal year for democracy and prosperity to revive in Latin America. That year U.S. President George H.W. Bush introduced the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative. This program was designed to improve the lives of the people of Latin America through market-oriented reforms and economic growth by reducing debt, modifying investments, and conserving environmental resources. This economic stimulus followed the restoration of Chilean democracy in 1990 after 17 years of strong-man rule.
This political change allowed U.S. Army Col. José R. Feliciano the opportunity to travel to Chile, reengaging the military by offering training and education programs being conducted at Fort Benning, Georgia. In 1993, 180 cadets from Chile's Bernardo O'Higgins Military Academy flew to the U.S. to participate in a TRADOC-validated two-week training program. The course was designed to introduce the cadets to U.S. Army doctrine concerning support to civilian led democracies, laws of armed conflict, leadership, and an orientation of U.S. Army technology, vehicles and equipment.
The most recent engagement began in late June when five Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation instructors: Capt. Joseph Macchiarella, Sgt. 1st Class Gustavo Rivera, 1st Sgt. Luis Carcamo (Chilean Partner-Nation Instructor), Staff Sgt. William Gamez, and Staff Sgt. Jorge Flores travelled to Santiago, Chile.
They gave the initial instruction on Ethics, Armed Forces in a Democracy, and Human Rights in-country, and administered the U.S. Army Physical Fitness Test to ensure cadets met the standards for the follow-on training at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Ga. - the home of WHINSEC. When 179 Chilean cadets, three Tactical Officers, and the Academy Director arrived at the MCoE on Sunday, Sep 24, Phase II began.
Training started early the next morning with a formal welcome and a walking tour of Sacrifice Field, the collection of historic monuments across the street from WHINSEC's campus. Then the busloads of cadets headed out to Bolton Range Confidence Course to test their endurance and courage maneuvering the various obstacles.
The second day was dedicated to learning about military leadership in the U.S. Army through a discussion with senior commanders. That was followed by a visit to the National Infantry Museum.
On technology day the cadets had hands-on experience at Clarke Simulations Center, operating the Virtual Battlespace 3 and the Reconfigurable Vehicle Simulator. In the Medical Simulation Training Center cadets ran "lanes" replicating the treatment of the wounded found on the battlefield.
Finally, the cadets were honored in a graduation ceremony recognizing their efforts and the work of the Chilean Armed Forces, the U.S. Army, and WHINSEC in achieving the mission of conducting an intense and successful course.
WHINSEC is a unique and well known organization within the U.S. Army's Training and Doctrine Command. The institute is fully accredited and strives for academic excellence while actively engaging the security forces of the Western Hemisphere using the unmatched resources of the U.S. Army's Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia.