FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Aug. 21, 2012) -- U.S. Army South's commanding general traveled to Colombia and Chile from July 31 to Aug. 9, as part of Army South's effort to strengthen partner nation capacity through engagement and personal exchanges.Maj. Gen. Simeon G. Trombitas, the Army South commanding general, traveled to Bogota, Colombia, where he discussed ways to enhance regional security and stability with Maj. Gen. Pedro L. Soto, the Colombian army inspector general, Maj. Gen. Javier E. Rey, the Colombian army director of army plans, and Maj. Gen. Jaime Esguerra, the Colombian army operations officer.
"We have a strong and enduring relationship with the Colombian army," said Trombitas. "As a strategic ally and global partner, we share many common security concerns."This was especially apparent during the Fuerzas Aliadas PANAMAX exercises in 2011 and 2012 where more than 50 Colombian military personnel traveled to Army South's headquarters to lead the land component portion of the exercise. Army South led this portion every year prior to 2011.After a series of meetings with key leaders, Trombitas visited the UH-60 Helicopter Mechanics School in Tolemaida, Colombia, and the Tactical Aviation Field Team and Regional Helicopter Training Center in Melgar, Colombia.Trombitas then made his way to Santiago, Chile, where he met Gen. Juan Miguel Fuente-Alba, the Chilean army commander, Lt. Gen. Hernán Mardones, the chief of the Chilean joint general staff, Maj. Gen. Alejandro Arancibia, the director of international relations for the Chilean army, and Maj. Gen. Humberto Oviedo, the Chilean military attaché to Washington, D.C. The meetings focused on regional security cooperation and the need for strong partnerships which enable partner nation armies to enhance hemispheric stability."The stability and security of the U.S. and partner nations hinge upon our ability to work together to address common security challenges," said Trombitas. "Personal contact with partner nation army leaders strengthens our bonds and makes us more effective than before."Trombitas closed out the trip with visits to the Chilean Escuela de Montana (Mountain School) in Portillo, Chile, and the Military Operations on Urban Terrain training facility in Fort Aguayo."Strong regional partnerships enable U.S. Army South and partner nation armies to enhance hemispheric stability and security," said Trombitas. "There is strength in partnership and the Colombian and Chilean armies are two of our strongest allies."