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Home : News : Overseas Operations
NEWS | May 3, 2024

Vermont Army Guard Soldiers Attend Brazilian Mountain School

By Sgt. Denis Nunez, Joint Force Headquarters - Vermont National Guard Public Affairs

SAO JOAO DEL REI, Brazil - Two Vermont Army National Guard Soldiers completed the challenging Brazilian Basic Mountaineering Course in April in Sao Joao Del Rei.  

Sgt. 1st Class David Girr and Staff Sgt. Cyran Willis were invited to participate in the course as part of a broader mountain operations exchange program with the U.S. Army and the Brazilian Army. This initiative aims to enhance expertise in mountain warfare tactics and foster international camaraderie. Girr and Willis worked closely with the 11th Mountain Infantry Battalion of the Brazilian Army throughout their training.

“This experience has not only honed our technical skills,” said Girr, “but it has also taught us about the terrain here in Brazil offers.”

The Brazilian Basic Mountaineering Course is renowned for its rigorous training standards, designed to equip soldiers with the skills to operate safely and effectively in mountainous environments. The course covers essential topics, including rock climbing, rappelling and navigation, all tailored to Brazil’s unique topography.

“I’m so incredibly grateful for the amazing opportunities the Vermont National Guard provides,” said Girr. “From training with the Brazilians in South America to working with NATO forces in Kosovo and Eastern Europe, I can confidently say this is the best job I’ve ever had.”

As part of the ongoing exchange, the U.S. Army looks forward to hosting soldiers from the Brazilian Army at the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School in Vermont. The Vermont National Guard and U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School have longstanding relationships with multiple international mountaineering groups and hosted the 2023 International Association of Military Schools.

The successful completion of the mountaineering course by Girr and Willis is a milestone in fortifying the U.S.-Brazil military mountainous education partnership. This achievement paves the way for further cooperative ventures that benefit both armed forces.