LATHAM, N.Y. – The New York Army National Guard has begun laying the groundwork for a joint exercise with the Brazilian military in the fall.
The planning conference for the Southern Vanguard 24 exercise was held in Brazil the first week of December, according to U.S. Army Maj. Melanie Padilla, the New York National Guard state planner.
Participants identified training scenarios, logistical requirements and objectives for the training event.
The New York National Guard and Brazil are partners under the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program. The program began in 1993 with 13 partners. Thirty years later, it has grown to 95 partner nations and is a key U.S. security cooperation tool that facilitates collaboration across all aspects of civil-military affairs.
“Exercise Southern Vanguard is an enduring exercise to advance Brazil-U.S. strategic partnership and increase U.S.-Brazil human, procedural and technical interoperability,” Padilla said. “All while enabling regional crisis response capability and capacity.”
Master Sgt. Rob Mitchell, the U.S. Army South Training and Exercises noncommissioned officer in charge, said Brazil’s jungle terrain makes planning even more important.
“When we come down here and train face to face, we create lifelong relationships with each other and we learn how they apply tactics in a different terrain than what U.S. Soldiers are used to.”
The New York Army National Guard will send 80 personnel from the Army National Guard Medical Command, the 466th Medical Company-Area Support, the 138th Public Affairs Detachment, the 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery, the 53rd Digital Liaison Detachment and the 133rd Composite Support Company.
Padilla said the primary missions for New York Guardsmen would be medical support, integrating U.S. and Brazil staff, water purification, public affairs integration with the U.S. Embassy, Brazil and U.S. Army South, and fires planning and integration.
Padilla said that many of these tasks enhance readiness between New York and Brazil to operate in a joint environment.
“The purpose of providing medical support will be to focus on the ability to conduct health protection activities to improve efficiency in providing medical care in a multinational force environment,” she said.
The water purification efforts will focus on the ability to conduct bulk water storage and distribution in austere environments.
New York formed a state partnership with Brazil in 2019, after partnering with South Africa in 2008. All 54 state and territory National Guards participate in the program.
“Combatant Commands across the board are realizing (the State Partnership Program) is an untapped resource that is available to them to enhance relationships on the diplomatic side,” Padilla said.
The National Guard’s expertise in responding to disasters and catastrophic events in major metropolitan areas such as New York City would be useful in Brazilian urban areas like Rio De Janeiro.
Because the National Guard focuses on domestic operations, the Guard is better at these missions than the active-duty military, she said.
“It’s essential to plan together and discuss the issues between the two armies,” said Brazilian army Maj. Rafael Penteado, the North Military Command G3.
“We can face each other and determine what works for both armies. For me, it’s a very great opportunity to get a shared experience with a friendly country and develop my view of the U.S. Army and its processes,” he said.
New York participated in Southern Vanguard 22 in December 2021. More than 900 U.S. and Brazilian soldiers conducted operations in Lorena, São Paulo, Brazil, in the largest U.S.-Brazil training exercise since World War II.