COVENAS, Colombia --
Marines aboard the USS Iwo Jima with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Continuing Promise 2010 held an opening ceremony with Colombian Marines at Colombian Marine Corps Training Base Covenas in Colombia, Aug. 10, 2010, as the start of joint subject matter expert exchanges with Colombian and U.S. Marines.
Subject matter expert exchange is just one essential mission of Operation Continuing Promise 2010, a mission that also includes medical, dental, veterinary and engineering support and disaster response to partner nations to the Caribbean, Central and South America. The Special-Purpose MAGTF plays a vital part in sharing and learning valuable experience from host nations.
The idea for a Marine opening ceremony came about because both U.S. and Colombian Marines wanted to do something special to celebrate the brotherhood they share.
Six hours prior to the ceremony, Colombian Marines learned to play the U.S. national anthem. When it was time for the band to play, the Colombians hit the right notes and their commitment to excellence was evident.
“I was incredibly impressed with the band. It gave me chills when they played our national anthem, especially knowing that they just learned to play it hours before the ceremony,” said Lt. Col. Chris S. Richie, commanding officer of Special-Purpose MAGTF CP10. “Discipline, professionalism and the ability to get the job done with class is the universal trait of a Marine whether U.S. or Colombian.”
During the ceremony, U.S. Marines and Colombian Marines stood at attention, side by side as U.S. national anthem, Colombian national anthem and both Marines’ hymns were played.
Both the executive officer of the base Colombian Col. Ricardo Perico and Richie spoke to the Marines in welcoming them to Colombia and beginning a new adventure with the subject matter expert exchanges that are scheduled to take place. Richie said they both emphasized a mutual respect for one another as a class of professional warriors.
“We have the unique opportunity to exchange philosophies in leadership, discipline and training with the second largest Marine Corps in the world,” said Richie. “We are in their home and are looking forward to a number of different training exchanges.”
Marines are scheduled to conduct physical training, jungle survival, and a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response with Colombian Marines.
“The Colombian Marines are true professionals,” said Richie. “They put together the ceremony in less than 24 hours, and I can think of no better way to initiate the training we will conduct over the next seven days.”
For more information on the Continuing Promise 2010 Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force, please visit the unit’s official website at http://www.marines.mil/unti/2ndMAW/SPMAGTF.