NEWS | June 22, 2021

U.S. Navy Reservist Supports Tradewinds Mission in Guyana

By Lieutenant Elizabeth R. Allen

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Tradewinds 2021, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, multinational, Caribbean security exercise, is currently underway in the country of Guyana, and includes strengthening partnerships though real-world support to assist with the mission.

U.S. Navy Logistics Specialist 1st Class Courtney Anderson, a from Monroe, La., is a Reserve Sailor assigned to U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) out of Miami, Fla. He arrived three weeks in advance to help plan and facilitate the logistics of the mission, from personnel movement to aircraft, and gear that would be needed during the two-week exercise.

“My part here is to enable the mobilization of the special forces and the other U.S. Army partners through reserves, guard and active duty, and making sure all their equipment arrives to make Tradewinds possible,” says Anderson. “I got to work with Lt. Cmdr Calros Paguaga, Maj. Rico Silver, Cpt. DeLorean Barksdale and Sergeant 1st Class Julian Osorio in the Military Liaison Office, and we all worked together to get everything rolling.”

While in Guyana, Anderson was a part of the Department of State Military Liaison Office (MLO), which is the behind-the-scenes backbone of Tradewinds. The MLO is comprised of five members of the U.S. military; two Navy, two Army and one Air Force member, and their combined planning efforts allowed the U.S. military to hit the ground running when they arrived in Guyana.

“Before any person or command got here, we did all of the ground work with the diplomatic notes, getting them signed by the Guyana Defence Force, and we had to plan who was coming on which days,” said Anderson. “When the military got here, they had a smooth time getting through customs and getting their equipment. Without working hand in hand with the MLO, we wouldn’t have gotten anything in or out of the country.”

Successful planning of the mission led to a smooth exercise, involving military participants from the U.S, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, the Dominican Republic, France, Great Britain, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, and the host nation, Guyana.

“To see the C-5s, the C-130s, and all the other planes coming in, and the people were getting off loaded, everything was just very smooth, I’m happy to see how everything was planned out, and everything has been great so far,” said Anderson. “I’ve gotten to see some of the partner nations here and see how the exercises are going. I’m really enjoying it.”

Planning an exercise of this scale is difficult to begin with; add in the fact that it is occurring during the global Coronavirus pandemic complicates things even more, but Anderson has risen to the challenge and met this issue head-on during the planning stages to ensure service members from all military forces are operating in a safe manner.

“Making sure the servicemembers have their shots, all the requirements the Guyanese government needs, is huge,” said Anderson. “Everyone here wears a mask and you sanitize everywhere you go. The biggest issue was making sure all the troops and partner nations received a negative Covid test before coming here. Guyana is very strict about testing.”

Anderson returns home once the mission is complete and all service members have departed. Getting supplies and personnel back home is another one of his challenges.

“On the back end I get to facilitate everything leaving so I get to do all of this again in reverse!” said Anderson. “This is my first exercise with SOUTHCOM, and to be a part of it has been phenomenal. I got to see the fruits of my labor play out.”

Tradewinds 2021 culminates with a closing ceremony on June 25th. Following the departure of personnel and gear, he will say goodbye to the country that has been his home since the end of May.

“My experience in Guyana has been very welcoming, very friendly, and there’s not enough nice things I can say about Guyana,” said Anderson. “The food is phenomenal and it’s a beautiful place. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have been here.”

Tradewinds 2021 is an exercise in the ground, air, sea, and cyber domains, working with partner nations to conduct joint, combined and interagency training, focused on increasing regional cooperation and stability.