ILHA DO GOVERNADOR, Brazil --
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
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
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.