By U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs Office June 29, 2016 Representatives from the United States and 17 partner nations kicked off Phase II of exercise Tradewinds 2016 with an opening ceremony held at the Jamaica Defence Force Up Park Camp, in Kingston, Jamaica, beginning on June 20th. Tradewinds is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise which has multinational military interacting in training that also promotes regional security cooperation. Phase II of the exercise includes both maritime and land events, which further enhance opportunities for participating countries to improve their security and disaster assistance capabilities. “During this exercise we will have 18 countries and about 1,000 participants, [who speak four languages]”, said Major General Antony Anderson, Chief of Defence Staff, Jamaican Defence Force. “It’s a great opportunity to [familiarize each other with the procedures of partner nations] who perhaps don’t work together that much, but also between cultures and languages, and how we make all of that work together, to ensure that we have a safer region.” The participating nations conducted numerous training events, which included internal security training, counter-illicit trafficking training, and dive and ship operations training. Throughout the exercise, the participating countries were integrated with service members from other nations allowing them to strengthen their interoperability. “What’s most important, are the relationships that we build and develop, because they will determine how well we come together when faced with a crisis or natural disaster,” said Colonel David Carbonero, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Marine Forces, South. “Lasting partnerships of friendship and trust will enable us to combat and defeat transnational organized crime and provide security and stability for our region.” Tradewinds was conducted from June 20th-28th throughout various locations around Jamaica, including Up Park Camp, Moneague Training Area, and Montego Bay.