FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- The Chilean Military Defense Attaché, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Porcile Arellano, visited U.S. Army South headquarters, Texas Military Forces at Camp Mabry and the city of San Antonio April 1-4 to further strengthen partnerships and to learn more about the command here, its mission and the culture of the area.

Army South, commanded by Maj. Gen. Simeon G. Trombitas, has successfully built strong regional partners with countries such as Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Peru.

Trombitas hosted the Chilean general and the Secretary of the Chilean Military Mission from the Chilean Embassy in Washington, D.C., Col. John Griffiths, and they discussed the strong partnership between Chilean forces and U.S. forces and the mutual participation in past and future multinational exercises and operations.

"One of our priorities is building strength and relationships, so anytime senior leaders can talk, it's always good," said Maj. Lance Awbrey, the Southern Cone desk officer for Army South. "It was a really good opportunity for the Chilean general to understand exactly how Army South operates, what we execute down in South America, more specifically with Chile, and it's also an opportunity to strengthen our bilateral vision of what we want to accomplish together."

Army South, being the Army Service Component Command of U.S. Southern Command, has an area of responsibility that encompasses 31 nations and 10 territories in Central and South America, and the Caribbean, including Chile.

Porcile serves not only as a representative of the Chilean army, but also as a liaison between the Chilean military and the U.S.

"In order to further the relationship between our armies, it is very important for me to know the person who is dealing with the activities and making command decisions," said Porcile, speaking of Trombitas. "It is very important to me to know the person I'm dealing with face to face."

The first day started out with briefs by the Chilean foreign liaison officer for Army South, Col. Luis Chamorro, as well as a command brief and tour of Army South's command center. Porcile was also briefed on Army South's joint exercises and humanitarian operations conducted in Central and South America such as Peace Keeping Operations-Americas (PKO-A), PANAMAX, Fuerzas Aliadas Humanitarias (FAHUM) and Beyond the Horizon (BTH).

In addition, Army South has held annual bilateral Staff Talks with the Chilean army since 2006 and also conducts Staff Talks with Brazil, Colombia and El Salvador. Army South is a deployable headquarters with a contingency command post and also works with partner nations in its AOR to enhance hemispheric security and stability.

Chamorro, a Chilean army officer, and one of three foreign liaisons who work at Army South, stated that the exercises and operations have a primary focus of providing humanitarian or civic assistance, security and training for forces within the AOR of Army South and SOUTHCOM. In addition to Chamorro, the countries of Brazil and Colombia also have military liaisons working at Army South.

With this being Porcile's first visit to San Antonio, the trip included more than just the standard mission briefs of how Army South operates. Following the tours and briefings at Army South headquarters, Porcile had the opportunity to learn about historic San Antonio through a guided tour of the Alamo as well as a boat ride along the River Walk. Porcile concluded the visit with a helicopter ride to Camp Mabry, located in Austin, where he met with Texas Military Forces.

When Porcile took over as the new military attaché for Chile to the United States in February 2012, he wanted the opportunity to familiarize himself with and gain an understanding of the capacities and capabilities of not only Army South, but also the Texas Military Forces, according to Chamorro.

Texas and Chile entered into a state partnership program in 2009, where Texas Military Forces and Chilean army forces conduct professional military exchanges, command and control exercises, consequence management, and emergency preparedness training. Porcile met with representatives from the Texas Military Forces to discuss future opportunities of mutual engagement.

"I was very pleased with my trip to San Antonio," said Porcile. "I had a great time." Porcile went on to express his gratitude for the warm reception of the staff here at Army South. "This is a good working team that comes together to get the job done."