MARFORSOUTH News
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U. S. Marine Capt. Ismael Lopez, team leader, 4th Civil Affairs Group, Force Headquarters Group, Marine Forces Reserve, interacts with the students at Jornalista Dantas during UNITAS Amphibous 2015 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Nov. 17, 2015. 4th CAG, Mexican Marines, along with Brazilian sailors and Marines provided food, soccer balls, pens and paper. In addition to the distribution of school materials, 4th CAG joined partner nations to teach local students about English translation, a brief explanation of what UNITAS Amphib is and a class on dental hygiene. (Photo taken by U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Issac Velasquez/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Issac Velasquez

Marines of the Americas make immediate impact in Brazil community

19 Nov 2015 | Master Sgt. K. Washington Marine Corps Forces Reserves

U.S., Mexican, and Brazilian Marines made a major impact on nearly 200 students at a primary school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Nov. 17, 2015, during one of the largest multinational field training exercises south of the equator.

            Marines with 4th Civil Affairs Group, along with their civil affairs counterparts from Brazil and Mexico, visited the Orlando Escola Municipal Jornalista Dantas School where they delivered 500 pens and pencils, 100 notepads, and a large assortment of basketballs, footballs, and soccer balls.  The students also received a dental hygiene class and an explanation of exercise UNITAS Amphibious.

            According to Lt. Col. Esteban Beamon, team lead for 4th CAG, the main purpose of the trip was to convey goodwill to children who otherwise would not encounter military troops, and secondly, to exchange best practices when conducting civil affairs in local communities amongst his Latin American partners.

            “This is an excellent opportunity to meet and work with our civil affairs counterparts from Brazil and Mexico, and to take lessons learned back home, while we also enhance our abilities as civil affairs Marines.” Beamon stated.

            The children of the Jornalista Dantas School were grateful for the Marines’ visit and even more appreciative of the contribution of school supplies. In return, the Marines appreciated the overjoyed smiles of the students, who for the mostly come from modest means.

            “Everything has changed.” said Heloísa Coelho, principal of the Jornalista Dantas School. “The school is changed, transformed. Everyone is participating and this is most important for education. It was important, the work of the Navy and Marines, it was wonderful! I would like to thank them very much!”

            Coelho’s school visit by the Marines is just one of the many different training events being conducted during the exercise.  In fact, from Nov. 14-25, nearly 1,000 representatives from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and the U.S. are working together to share best practices and foster friendly cooperation and understanding through infantry maneuver training, rifle and pistol drills, and helicopter and amphibious assault vehicle operations.

            UNITAS Amphibious is a multinational naval infantry/marine corps, security cooperation, field training exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command that is designed to enhance interoperability in amphibious operations, and humanitarian/disaster relief missions.

            “It’s all about building good, solid relationships, a solid foundation of trust and ensuring we all have a positive outlook of each other and our nation’s capabilities.” explained Beamon. “We have great confidence in each of our partner nation’s abilities to work together as a team when we are needed.”

            UNITAS Amphibious 2015 will conclude with an amphibious landing east of Rio de Janeiro and will incorporate the majority of every partner nations’ elements from aircraft to infantry.