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NEWS | Dec. 4, 2023

New York Guardsmen Conclude Southern Vanguard 24 in Brazil

By Spc. Joseph Liggio, 138th Public Affairs Detachment

MACAPA, Brazil - Forty-four New York National Guard Soldiers, working alongside active-duty Army and Brazilian Army Soldiers, conducted three weeks of training in Northern Brazil Nov. 1-16.

Exercise Southern Vanguard 24 brought Soldiers from the 258th Field Artillery Battalion, 466th Medical Company, Area Support, the 133rd Composite Support Company, the 53rd Digital Liaison Detachment and 138th Public Affairs Detachment to Belem, Macapa and Oiapoque.

The New York National Guard Soldiers learned how to survive in the Brazilian jungle and participated in tactical operations and training while providing medical support to Soldiers during the exercise.

Brig. Gen. Isabel Smith, director of Joint Staff for the New York National Guard, said the training helped improve the readiness of both countries for rapid deployment.

“Exercising together allows our armies to increase interoperability and demonstrates a shared commitment,” Smith said.

New York has worked alongside Brazil through the National Guard’s State Partnership Program since 2019, executing bilateral military and civilian engagements to increase partner capacity and capability.

The New York Guardsmen trained alongside Soldiers from U.S. Army South, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the 7th Special Forces Group, and the 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade, as well as over 1,000 Brazilian army personnel assigned to Brazil’s 52nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Brigade.

New York Army National Guard Maj. Shelly Respecki, commander of the 466th, said learning about the jungle from the Brazilian army was invaluable from a medical perspective.

The unit provided medical support and supply and treated heat-related illnesses, environmental threats and emergency trauma, Respecki said.

“The course allows our Soldiers to understand what threats and risks are involved with training in the jungle,” said Respecki. “We’ll be better able to treat the participants knowing what they’re going through and how to survive in the jungle if needed to potentially sit on a patient.”

Guardsmen from the 53rd Digital Liaison Detachment integrated with the 23rd Jungle Infantry Brigade’s staff section for the duration of the exercise to support operations.

Public affairs Soldiers from the 138th supported media relations with Army South counterparts, according to Capt. Stephanie Fernadez, the detachment commander.

Four artillerymen from the 258th Field Artillery spent a lot of time with Brazilian gunners, said Capt. Anthony Migliore, the assistant battalion fire support officer for the 258th B. Battery.

“I spent most of my time at the gun line yesterday and it was just like being back at A Battery or B Battery with the 258th, Migliore said.

He provided fires planning support for a scenario involving attacks on enemy objectives during the exercise, Migliore said.

Spc. Myeonghyeon Chang, a water treatment specialist from the 133rd, said she enjoyed the exercise.

“It’s been a really great experience for me, especially since this is my first time being in a Latin American country,” she said.

Chang said she and others from the 133rd provided pure water for Brazilian and American exercise participants. They also cross-trained on the 7th Special Forces Group’s water purification equipment.



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