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Home : News : State Partnership Program
NEWS | March 4, 2022

Airman brings Jiu-Jitsu skills to SPP partner Costa Rica

By 150th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. - New Mexico Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Bradley Vallez is a tournament-winning Jiu-Jitsu competitor. He has the medal to prove it.

So when he got the opportunity to share his knowledge of non-lethal combat techniques to Costa Rica’s police force, he jumped at the chance.

“I supported the State Partnership Program Non-Lethal Techniques Tactics and Procedures,” said Vallez. “I served as an instructor in teaching combatives and arrest control techniques as part of an exchange of information with the Costa Rican police force.”

Vallez found himself in Costa Rica because the country is the New Mexico National Guard’s SPP partner. The National Guard Bureau established SPP in 1991 to encourage cooperation of international civil-military affairs and people-to-people ties at the state level.

This was Vallez’s first visit to Costa Rica.

“This was by far one of the most rewarding TDYs (temporary duty) that I have been on in my Air Force career,” said Vallez. “To be able to take the information that I am a subject matter expert on for the Air Force and be able to exchange this information and ideas with the Costa Rican police force to me personally made it very rewarding.”

The Albuquerque native has been a member of the NMANG’s 150th Security Forces Squadron for about 10 years. He’s a fire team leader and an instructor of combatives and non-lethal weapons and a tactical combat casualty care instructor.

“Staff Sgt. Vallez’s professionalism was on display in Costa Rica,” said Capt. Adrian Mateos, subject matter expert exchange officer in charge in Costa Rica. “He is a prime case study of the SPP success where, with careful planning and rehearsals, a subject matter expert that is not a Spanish speaker is able to travel and effectively collaborate with the partner nation.”

Following his return to Albuquerque, Vallez competed in and finished first in the 135-pound division at the American Grappling Federation’s Jiu-Jitsu tournament.