SOCSOUTH kicks off competition in Panama

  • Published
  • By Army Staff Sgt. Brian Ragin, Special Operations Command South


PANAMA CITY, Panama - Despite the cloudy skies, spirits were high for approximately 100 anxious competitors. Hosted by the Ministry of Public Security, Panama this year, Fuerzas Comando, a multinational special operations competition sponsored by U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) and executed by Special Operations Command South kicked off its 14th iteration of the event July 17, 2018, with an opening ceremony.

Seventeen countries from the Caribbean, Central America, South America, to include the United States participated in the ceremony.

“It’s a great honor to be here,” said Col. Brian Greata, deputy commanding officer for SOCSOUTH. “ This competition gives us the opportunity to establish and strengthen relations with special operations professionals in our region facing criminal and terrorist challenges.”

Fuerzas Comando is a competition held annually since 2004, this is the first time FC has been hosted in Panama. Through friendly competition, this exercise promotes interoperability, military-to-military relationships, increases training knowledge, and improves regional security. 

“Together we will improve our ability to defeat our challenges,” Greata added.

The nine-day event schedule will test participants’ technical and tactical skills and will include a Distinguished Visitor Program.

“In this regional event, you all are the best of the best of the nations you are representing,” said Minister of Public Security of Panama Alexis Bethancourt Yau. “So make your comrades proud by giving everything you have in every moment."

The special operations skills competition will consist of a series of events that include a physical fitness test, confidence course, close quarters combat, marksmanship, a ruck march, and an obstacle course. 

Greata closed his remarks by urging those participating to share ideas, build trust and knowledge.