Every year countries from the Western Hemisphere special operations community come together in a military exercise called Fuerzas Comando consisting of competition between police, civilian, and military special operations teams. The latest exercise was held in May 2016 in the country of Peru. The United States and 19 other countries took part in the special ops skills competition.
United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) sponsored the competition and Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) helped run the exercise. There were two parts to the exercise – a program focused on countering terrorism and a skills competition between the attending country special operations teams. The 2016 event took place over eleven days and was an opportunity for the participating nations to sharpen their special operations skills, increase their knowledge of new equipment and techniques, and improve interoperability between special operations units of other countries.
Much of the Fuerzas Comando 2016 competition involved sniping, shooting, physical fitness, mobility, concealment, close quarters combat, aquatic events, airborne operation, obstacle course, and more. The competitive events were timed and judged on accuracy as well. The sniping event took place – not on a flat shooting range – but from awkward and / or precarious positions encountered in real-life situations. The event was designed to help special operations units prepare for some of the threats that face nations today – such as terrorism, drug gangs, kidnappings, hostage situations, insurgencies, and more.
The exercise was held on a Peruvian naval marine base on the Pacific coast of Peru. The exercise was designed to be as realistic as possible. Members of the 7th Special Forces Group (7th SFGA) assisted in the methodology of the exercise. 7th SFGA is regionally oriented to Central and South America – although since 2002 they have been significantly involved in Afghanistan. In addition to the competition of specialized skills (such as advanced sniping) there was also a very physical element as well. Teams engaged in a ruck march, carrying weapons and packs that began at 5,000 feet above sea level and ended at 10,000 feet over a distance of 20 kilometers.
So who won the competition? The Mexican team finished fourth, the team from Peru finished third, the Honduran team finished in second place, and the Champions of Fuerzas Comando 2016 were . . . .
If you understand Spanish you can visit the Peru military’s Facebook account for more information
Video: Watch a two-minute long video of the competition’s obstacle course (courtesy of SOCSOUTH, 2016).
Image Credits: Top photo from Peruvian military website on Fuerzas Comando 2016. The other photos are by Specialist Jaccob Hearn of SOCSouth.
Note: The United States team finished fifth out of 20 teams competing.