JTF-Bravo Fosters Regional Cooperation for 36 Years

first_imgBy Geraldine Cook/ Diálogo April 17, 2019 Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-Bravo) celebrates its 36th anniversary as a trusted partner to Central America and beyond. The task force, a subordinate command of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), is located at Soto Cano Air Base in Comayagua, Honduras, since it was set up in 1983, when the two countries signed a partnership agreement to foster security, stability, and prosperity in the Western Hemisphere. “JFT-Bravo’s mission is extremely important for the United States and for us [Honduras],” said Honduran Army Major General René Orlando Ponce Fonseca, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Honduran Armed Forces. “It’s important to emphasize our friendship, cordiality, and coordination.” The United States and Honduras have a history of collaboration dating back to the 1960s, when their armed forces began combined training exercises. The U.S government used Palmerola Air Base, now Soto Cano Air Base, as a base of operations to support its foreign policy objectives in the 1980s. In 1983, the U.S. Congress authorized the creation of a joint task force, originally named Joint Task Force-11, and later renamed JTF-Alpha, to further this purpose. In 1984, the force earned its current name, JTF-Bravo. The initial mission provided command and control, administrative, and logistics support for exercises, deployments, and humanitarian and community projects. The task force expanded to work with all Central American partners in joint, and combined operations and support for security initiatives. The forward air base works around the clock to execute humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, synchronize operations against criminal transnational networks, participate in multilateral exercises with partner nations, and build partner nation capacities to promote regional cooperation and security. “We work toward the same goals; drug trafficking, illegal arms, and terrorism threats in the Western Hemisphere. Working together helps both nations have well-equipped and trained forces able to provide prompt and timely responses to any problems that may arise,” added Maj. Gen. Ponce. JTF-Bravo has a joint staff and five major mission-support commands: the 612th Air Base Squadron; the Army Forces Battalion; the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment (1-228th); the Joint Security Forces; and the Medical Element (MEDEL). “We are here for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, to coordinate efforts to counter transnational organized crime, and to build partners’ capacities,” said U.S. Army Colonel Kevin Russell, commander of JTF-Bravo. Three decades of collaboration As part of its operations, JTF-Bravo conducts regular Medical Readiness Training Exercises (MEDRETEs), capacity-building exercises—such as Central America Sharing Mutual Operational Knowledge and Experiences (CENTAM SMOKE), to train regional firefighting units—and operations to support national and international interagency efforts, among other tasks in Honduras and its regional neighbors. “Our cooperation with JTF-Bravo is very important,” said Major Gen. Ponce. “We coordinate air reconnaissance operations with their aircraft and they support us continuously in aeromedical missions in different parts of the country.” In 36 years, JTF-Bravo provided humanitarian assistance, responded to natural disasters and contingencies, and conducted military and civilian training to strengthen the U.S. relationship with partners in Central America. Only the humanitarian brigades carried out through MEDRETEs served more than 480,000 people in Central America and the Caribbean since 1993. “JTF-Bravo is known in the region for its medical brigades. Whenever there is a need, JTF-Bravo has been there to respond,” said Dr. Ricardo Aviles, JTF-Bravo’s Honduran medical liaison since 1994. “MEDRETEs get to locations that are extremely inaccessible. The manpower that the Ministry of Health and JTF-Bravo put together make an impact in the region we attend.” Local impact For Honduras, the impact is clear. “The National Congress of Honduras recognized JTF-Bravo for helping to eradicate measles and polio in the country, and for responding during outbreaks such as whooping cough, said Aviles. “JTF-Bravo supported the Honduran Ministry of Health to perform immunizations on a regular basis—the immunization coverage for patients was less than 40 percent in regions like Gracias a Dios and Olancho. We brought the immunization coverage from 40 to 98 percent.” For U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Cook, commander of the 1-228th regiment, JTF-Bravo’s historical impact is based on the consolidation of its long-lasting partnerships with countries in the region. “We have built and will continue to develop long-lasting partnerships, provide humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and aid in furthering U.S. interests by building strategic partner relationships throughout SOUTHCOM’s area of operations,” said Lt. Col. Cook. “Historically, the 1-228th has continuously served as a resource of professional development for partner nation’s aviation units with subject matter experts to instruct on best practices in aviation mission execution.” Central America is vulnerable to natural disasters due to its geographical location. The force demonstrated its regional support during the rescue efforts and post-disaster recovery operation of Hurricane Mitch in October 1998; the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Peru, in August 2007; and in the Leeward Islands following Hurricane Maria in September 2017, among other missions. Trusted regional partner For Guatemala, JTF-Bravo has proved to be a steadfast partner. “The cooperation from JTF-Bravo to combat threats in the Central American region is important to train Guatemala’s Army forces as well as to support interagency operations,” said Guatemalan Army Major General Julio César Paz Bone, chief of Guatemala’s National Defense General Staff. JFT-Bravo and Guatemala regularly conduct combined air, land, and maritime exercises for tactical, operational, and strategic training, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, and peace keeping operations among different countries’ armed forces, he said. The Guatemalan Army participates on local MEDRETEs, where besides providing medical assistance to residents in remote regions, they have the opportunity to prepare to respond to possible natural disasters. Since 2014, JTF-Bravo trained more than 1,500 members of the Guatemalan military. “We achieved an atmosphere of mutual trust to develop an interoperational dynamic among armed forces to better address the common threats affecting the Central American isthmus,” added Maj. Gen. Paz. El Salvador also benefits from JTF-Bravo’s efforts to facilitate interoperability among the armed forces of the region, especially in the fight against emerging threats throughout Central America. “JTF-Bravo is important for consolidating regional coordination in the fight against common threats,” said Salvadoran Army Major General Félix Edgardo Núñez Escobar, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Force. “They have the most advanced resources, materials, and technologies available in the Central American area, which facilitates their rapid use in case there is a requested for help from a regional military institution,” said Major Gen. Núñez. With its solid presence in the region, JTF-Bravo’s reach is a clear testament to the U.S. efforts to collaborate with, support, and interoperate with its Central American neighbors. “The United States is here, and people do not have to look any further than JTF-Bravo in Soto Cano Air Base to understand the United States cares about the region, our neighborhood, and our partners,” concluded Col. Russell.last_img read more

Arsenal board give Unai Emery four matches to save his job

first_imgArsenal board give Unai Emery four matches to save his job Advertisement Comment Advertisement Emery is facing increasing pressure from supporters (Picture: Getty)Nevertheless, the pressure remains on Emery’s position and the Mirror report that he has the month of November to convince the Arsenal board to stick with him.AdvertisementAdvertisementThe Gunners face Vitoria in the Europa League on Thursday before their trip to face Leicester.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalArsenal then have a winnable-looking fixture at home against Southampton after the international break before hosting Frankfurt at the Emirates.Beyond the poor results, there’s also a sense that Emery simply hasn’t progressed in other elements of the club since replacing Arsene Wenger in 2018.The Gunners are conceding more, scoring less and lack a coherent identity under the Spaniard this term.MORE: Serge Aurier AND Son Heung-min could have been given red cards after Andre Gomes injury, says Mark Clattenburg Metro Sport ReporterMonday 4 Nov 2019 8:49 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link6.9kShares Unai Emery is clinging onto his job (Picture: Getty)Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been give four matches to convince the board he remains the right man for the club.The Spaniard’s position has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks with Arsenal winning just three of their last nine league matches.Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Wolves means the Gunners are already six points off the top four and they face rivals Leicester City at the KingPower Stadium next weekend.The club have distanced themselves from claims that they have opened talks with Jose Mourinho over replacing Emery but the pressure remains on the Spaniard.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

Despite rich history, Syracuse baseball is unlikely in near future

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 21, 2017 at 12:05 am Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 Syracuse’s first intercollegiate sport ended as quickly as it began. Established three years after the university itself, the baseball team started as a dozen students playing local rivals on the weekends. But then, in 1972, without notifying anyone, an assistant athletic director sold all of the baseball equipment and uniforms.Only 11 years removed from a third-place finish in the College World Series, some players struggled to understand why. The members of a freshman- and sophomore-laden squad took the call hard. But a university recession and change in the Syracuse academic calendar led to baseball’s demise.Last weekend, 14 Atlantic Coast Conference baseball teams began the 2017 season. More than five years since announcing a switch to the ACC, Syracuse remains the only school in the conference — and only one of four Power 5 schools — without a baseball program. Syracuse will not field a squad for the 45th straight year.Syracuse last had an NCAA baseball team in 1972, when Jim Boeheim served as an assistant to the men’s basketball team and Richard Nixon sat in the White House. Despite Syracuse’s rich baseball history, despite the ACC’s dominance on the diamond, despite the SU Athletics’ surplus revenue, SU’s baseball dormancy endures. At least for the short term.In the meantime, Syracuse stays focused on upgrading its football program, first-year Director of Athletics John Wildhack said last week. Only when football reaches national relevancy will Syracuse even begin to consider the feasibility of adding sports, baseball included.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Let’s take our existing sports and get them to their full potential,” Wildhack said. “Is there anything we’re considering now? No. Might there be the opportunity down the road? Yes.”When Syracuse joined the ACC four years ago, the conference said it didn’t pressure the school to add baseball, even though it includes perennial powers Clemson, North Carolina and Miami. The ACC requires schools only have football, men’s and women’s basketball, and women’s soccer or volleyball. SU fields the minimum number of varsity sports (16) required by the NCAA, which said it hasn’t asked Syracuse to join its ACC counterparts on the diamond.Courtesy of SU ArchivesAttempts by third parties to revive the baseball program at Syracuse haven’t succeeded. Former Director of Athletics Daryl Gross, who ended men’s and women’s swimming and added women’s ice hockey, hosted baseball advocates in his office, but he stepped down in 2015 following an NCAA violations report. Gross also explored adding men’s ice hockey, but similar obstacles arose. Money and Title IX, which requires institutions to provide equal scholarships for men and women, curtailed those efforts. If Syracuse added baseball today, it would need to eliminate a men’s sport or add one or two women’s sports.“If I’m a fan, I can say, ‘Why can’t SU just add baseball?’” said Rick Burton, Syracuse’s faculty athletic representative to the NCAA and a sport management professor in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. “What you have to understand is football or men’s basketball would have to pay for it.”Ten years ago, a group of about 20 families, business people and doctors figured it could raise $200,000 to raise a team. That estimate woefully shorted the actual annual cost of fielding a competitive baseball team in one of the country’s top conferences. In 2014-15, the average operating expenses of an ACC baseball program on game day hovered around $600,000, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Tack on the cost of awarding scholarships and paying coaches and support staff, and the real figure sits around $1 million, making baseball among the most expensive non-revenue sports in college athletics.“You want baseball at Syracuse?” said Andy Doyle, a Winthrop University professor of the history of sports. “Put up some cash.”Syracuse started a chain of dropping dominoes by cutting baseball in 1972 as one of the first D-I institutions to drop the sport. Over the last few decades, dozens of schools have suspended or discontinued programs, including Boise State (1980), Wisconsin (1991), Colgate (1996), Drexel (2003), Vermont (2009) and Akron (2015).Vermont Director of Athletics Jeff Schulman said the 2008 recession hit UVM’s athletic department particularly hard and left administrators no other choice but to cut sports. Nationwide, athletic departments grapple with expense hikes as costs for support staff, travel and scholarships continue to rise. For most schools, financing, not Title IX, has been the largest issue.“It’s unfortunate,” Schulman said, “but baseball was a real burden.”For Syracuse, any potential venue also remains unclear. The Orange possibly would practice and host games at NBT Bank Stadium, the home of the Class AAA affiliate of the Washington Nationals less than 4 miles from campus. The other option, building a South Campus stadium, projects a cost in the millions.Even still, it’s unlikely that Syracuse would get onto the field before April. SU routinely ranks as the snowiest campus in the U.S., meaning the Orange would spend extra money flying down South for the first half of the season. Yet that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Vermont supported a D-I team for years, Maine boasts a competitive team in a comparable climate and Boston College holds its own in the ACC.Snuffing out Syracuse’s historic past mystified some locals at how a program so storied could end so quickly. Baseball began at Syracuse in 1873 and took flight when Lew Carr took over as head coach in 1910. Carr gained fame when he played third base for the Pittsburgh Pirates alongside all-time great Honus Wagner. Until 1900, Syracuse’s travel and opposition were limited to New York state. At the turn of the century, SU began touring the East for spring games. By 1917, Syracuse had ranked fourth nationally.“When there is taken into consideration how little time for practice there was,” read a Syracusan article, “how indefinitely small the intent taken in the game by the students, and that the sum of money given by the barest necessity of a college nine, we may well admire their pluck and perseverance.”Most early teams played indoors at a local armory and, on nice days, they took to the Quad. In 1942, Syracuse suspended baseball due to World War II. The sport returned to campus six years later under the direction of Ted Kleinhans, who had been a teammate of Joe DiMaggio on the 1936 World Series Champion New York Yankees. In 1961, SU baseball advanced to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, and several players had also starred on the 1959 Syracuse football team that finished 11-0 and won the national title.Courtesy of SU ArchivesWhile top-ranked teams played in warmer climates, Syracuse prepared for upcoming seasons in “The Barn,” a building adjacent to Manley Field House that held batting cages, mounds and one big space heater. Others teams played upward of 50 games per year, and SU was lucky to get in 20. From 1910 to 1942, the team played games on the land behind Manley Field House that now serves as the lacrosse practice fields. In Syracuse’s prime, more than 1,000 fans attended.Crowds shrunk as the Syracuse basketball program grew. As few as 20 fans attended games in the late 1960s and 1970s. Then the economy nosedived. Mass inflation nationwide ensued, budget cuts loomed and, according to minutes from 1972 Athletic Policy Board meetings, a recession bowed the university.“It was extremely difficult,” Syracuse class of 1960 outfielder and MLB outfielder Doug Clemens said. “We’d be working out in a barn in sweats and a hooded jacket, then we’d go out and run the show. It was really brutal because in my era we didn’t even have the Field House yet, let alone a great big dome.”Officially, baseball was temporarily suspended, not discontinued, in 1972 after the university revised its academic calendar to end in late April rather than late May or early June. A substantial number of baseball playing dates became casualties to the change, and the university faced extra costs to fund a baseball team playing weeks, if not months, after a semester’s end.Two springs later, members of the Athletic Policy Board at SU voted not to recommend the reinstatement of baseball. Dr. Theodore C. Denise, then-Chairman of the Athletic Board, cited forecasted operating costs and the “present level of interest in intercollegiate baseball.”Now, experts agree baseball would provide Syracuse another way to expand its national presence, and a powerhouse program could attract top athletes from the New York area. Syracuse players would also be exposed to professional scouts when facing some of the country’s best competition. More high school programs could pop up and New York youth baseball participation numbers may increase, said Syracuse sport management professor Rodney Paul.“Everyone in the area might benefit,” Paul said. “It could really just raise the whole quality of baseball in the state. It would be great for so many reasons. But it’s a long shot.”Either way, baseball’s return appears distant due to finances and Title IX.“The expenses of athletic programs are really skyrocketing,” said Karl Green, a baseball historian. “I would say baseball is highly unlikely at Syracuse. But never say never.” Commentslast_img read more