By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Kathryn Whittenberger,
Naval Special Warfare Group 4 Public Affair
LAS CALDERAS, Dominican Republic (NNS) -- U.S. Navy Special
Warfare combatant-craft crewmen (SWCC) conducted a joint
combined exchange training (JCET) with members of the
Dominican Republic Navy June 18-Aug 7.
> The purpose of this JCET was to strengthen the partnership
between the United States and the Dominican Republic Navy.
This training exercise is held annually at the invitation of
the Dominican Republic and focuses on supporting its
> "All of the Special Operations Command-South international
JCET partners in the Caribbean area of operations are
seeking to develop their maritime mobility capability in the
coastal and/or brown water environment through the training,
support and exchange, which the special boat teams and the
Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School
(NAVSCIATTS) have to offer," said Cmdr. Bill Irwin,
commander of Naval Special Warfare Task Unit-Caribbean, who
also helped arrange for NAVSCIATTS to give basic level
maritime training to this and other units in the Dominican
> "The special skill sets which the special boat teams and
NAVSCIATTS have to offer through these training events
enhance our partner nations' capability and capacity to
conduct counterdrug operations, while developing the skills
of our special warfare combatant-craft crewmen and building
a strong theater security cooperation alliance. This
alliance helps keep America safe."
> This course covers basic seamanship skills, including
everything from towing the boats on trailers to inserting
and extracting forces on the ground. Previous U.S.
engagement with the Dominicans has included Enduring
Friendship, a USSOUTHCOM-spearheaded multi-year program that
aims to lay the groundwork for a regional security network
of maritime patrollers by providing seven nations' improved
communications systems and high-speed interceptor boats.
These four craft, delivered in 2007 as part of the Enduring
Friendship initiative, have been augmented by two more
boarding craft this year, to vastly enhance the Dominican's
capability to patrol their waters.
> Chosen for their experience as U.S. Special Operations
Command maritime mobility experts, the SWCC here focus on
building skill sets necessary in deploying the vessels to
their maximum potential.
> "We take a look at what the partner nation requests, what
we can provide and the desired end state," said the SWCC
chief petty officer in charge of the boat detachment
deployed here. "We concentrate on basic maritime knowledge,
but in the end, we want them to safely and effectively be
able to put forces on the ground."
> Although this detachment has done a previous JCET in this
region, each is unique.
> "They are very eager to learn. We teach them the basics of
everything, including weapon handling, medical and
navigation - everything that builds the foundations of a
special operations warrior," said a SWCC Second Class Petty
Officer. "At the same time, I'm getting a chance to practice
my language skills and operate a different boat. I think
we're really learning a lot from each other."
> These skill sets are in demand by the Dominicans.
> "Right now, we're learning navigation. The officers, we
already know how to do it, but we are learning new things
that will help us," said Dominican Republic Navy Ensign
Amavle Arias. "Most importantly, we are learning basic
combat medicine. This is important because we will use it in
training, while operating and in regular life."
> Arias is the commander of one of the vessels and says he
will pass this training on to others.
> "Our main mission is to stop drug trafficking. We learn
here how to do fast maneuvers and how to stop them," he
said. "We have also learned that every mission has to follow
a procedure to keep us safe."
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