FORT BENNING, Ga. (USASOC News Service, Dec. 18, 2012) – For the first time in more than 25 years, an American Soldier has graduated from the Guatemalan special operations Kaibil School, in Poptún, Guatemala.
Staff Sgt. Joel R. Rodriguez, Jr., a Ranger Reconnaissance Team Leader assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., graduated December 2012.
“I volunteered to attend this school because I wanted the challenge,” said Rodriguez. “I wanted to test myself and it’s something I wanted to accomplish during my military career.”
The Kaibil School is considered one of the most prestigious, vigorous, arduous military courses in Central America. Their motto: “If I advance, follow me. If I stop, urge me on. If I retreat, kill me.”
Within one week of starting the process, Rodriguez was en route to Guatemala City to start his training with no preparation whatsoever.
The Kaibil School specializes in jungle warfare tactics and counter-insurgency operations, small unit tactics and students endure great mental and psychological stresses and physical fatigue.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the Kaibil Center’s mission is to train and develop elite commando forces: “To select by means of arduous, difficult training under physical and mental pressure, members of the (Guatemalan) army are capable of engaging in commando operations.”