SANTIAGO, Chile -- Maj. Gen. Frederick S. Rudesheim, the U.S. Army South commanding general, spoke to more than 150 students and faculty of the Academia de Guerra del Ejercito (Chilean Army War College) during a visit to Santiago, Chile, Nov. 6.
The visit to the college was in support of the annual army-to-army staff talks between the U.S. and Chilean armies that took place Nov. 5-7.
The Chilean army asked Rudesheim to speak to their war college students on his personal experience in Iraq and the U.S. Army's experience in Afghanistan.
"What I wanted to do was to share what we have learned from more than a decade at war, and more importantly, to be able to learn from the students based on their questions," said Rudesheim.
The speaking engagement gave the Army South commander an opportunity to address Chilean officers, both students and faculty members, and other military personnel from other countries within the U.S. Southern Command's area of responsibility, who are also attending the war college.
Most of the students present at the briefing are considered by their respective militaries as the most viable candidates for promotion to general officer.
"Our wartime experiences provide knowledge and lessons-learned that not only apply to combat situations, but many times can be applied across the full spectrum of military operations," said Maj. Lance Awbrey, the Army section chief in Chile. "Having access to this knowledge and sharing these experiences with our partners shows the level of trust and confidence we have in Chile as a military partner."
The presentation along with Chile's continuous participation in the military personnel exchange program (MPEP) illustrates the strong partnership between Chile and the U.S. Army.
Chilean Lt. Gen. Antonio Cordero, the Chilean chief of staff, also believes the critical nature of being able to work side-by-side to find collaborative solutions to mutual challenges is vital to maintaining theater security cooperation.
"Our armies have many similarities," said Cordero. "By working together, we can make our armies stronger and more versatile to be able to meet future challenges."
Rudesheim also toured the Chilean Escuela Militar (Chilean equivalent of the U.S. Military Academy) where he met with Lt. Col. Luis O. Remigio, an MPEP instructor from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, who is currently teaching military science at the Escuela Militar.
Remigio stressed the importance of maintaining training and instructional engagements between partner nations as a way of improving capabilities.
"The Department of Defense and the U.S. Army work hard to maintain allies around the world," said Remigio. "When lessons learned from both countries are shared, it provides an opportunity for both partners to learn from each other."
Chile and the U.S. share many interests and security concerns.
"Professional military education presentations and other engagements enhance army-to-army contacts and mutual understanding by providing partner nation armies with insights concerning specific U.S. Army programs and areas of mutual interest, and assisting partner nation armies like Chile in areas of modernization and reform," said Awbrey.
"Chile is considered one of our most important partners for security cooperation in the region," said Maj. Mario Castro, the Army South southern cone desk officer. "It is very important to maintain and improve relations with countries that have strong capabilities like Chile."
With its highly capable military and law enforcement agencies serving as models of professionalism in the region, Chile is a key player in enhancing security in the region.
"Through the Army South commander's presentation and our continuous participation in the MPEP program, the U.S. and Chile will continue to be strong partners in the Western Hemisphere," said Castro.