CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – More than thirty officers from the Colombian School of Advanced Warfighting and Brig. Gen. Leonardo Pinto Morales, commander of the 7th Division of the Colombian Army, visited 1st Marine Logistics Group leaders as part of the Colombian Observance Exchange Program Sept. 2, 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The program allowed members of both the U.S. Marine Corps and Colombian Armed Forces to build a better understanding of services, share best practices and strengthen camaraderie and interoperability.
"The Colombian Army came to the U.S. as part of a war college course," said Col. Phil Frietze, assistant chief of staff for operations, 1st MLG, and a native of Las Cruces, N.M. "They wanted to discuss how the Marine Corps injects logistics into supporting the ground and air combat elements."
Opportunities like this provide a medium to share knowledge with each other, strengthening the existing partnership and capabilities for working in concert in real-world situations.
"I think it's very important to learn about the capabilities that the Marines have here, especially the logistics capabilities that allow sustained operations in any part of the world," said. Morales. "The organization and the infrastructure that you support is a very interesting system that we can bring back to our country for logistical operations in support of the U.S. military operations."
The visit consisted of a command brief presented by Frietze, a static display of explosive ordinance disposal equipment, motor transportation vehicles and landing support equipment. They also toured a combat training town. The visit concluded with a social hour hosted by Maj. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, 1st MLG commanding general.
Throughout the visit, the Colombian officers and Marines discussed the differences between the two countries' operational methods.
"It's pretty cool learning how [the Colombian forces] operate and how they are perhaps learning to incorporate what they see today to their own operations in Colombia," said Lance Cpl. Sebastian Gomez, a parachute rigger with Air Delivery Platoon, Landing Support Company, Headquarters Regiment, 1st MLG, and a native of Queens, N.Y. "It's cool seeing countries come together. When you have people travel across the world because they are interested in learning about our arsenal of weapons and technology, it really is a cool thing."
The close relationships with U.S. and partner-nation militaries, such as the Colombian Armed Forces, have an impact on regional stability. Visits such as this are key to meeting the full spectrum of security cooperation objectives.
"The world is smaller now, so meeting with our partner-nations and sharing information like this is really important and needs to be done," said Frietze. "I think this meeting was a great success and I hope that it's made an impact."