Five U.S. Army Engagement Branch advisors deployed to Suriname in February to conduct small unit tactics training with the Suriname Army. The Engagement Branch was led by Captain Christopher Hudson and Master Sergeant Joseph Hissong, and supported by Sergeants First Class Ronald Burke, Jason Harrison and James Weaver, who served as advisors and trainers during the 12-day exercise. During a pre-deployment site survey in December, the U.S. Army team, together with Surinamese personnel from the Operations Section of the Army, formulated a program of instruction for the training exercise.
The training focused on squad level tactics and culminated in a platoon level field training exercise. The overarching goal of the training was building small unit leaders and empowering the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) corps of the Suriname Army. To accomplish these goals, the American training team embedded itself full time with the Surinamese Army, enabling the team to build rapport quickly not only by training but also by living with the Suriname students.
The training began Monday, February 10, 2014, with a formal ceremony featuring Suriname Army Sergeants Major Chaitsing Radj and Ronodimedjo Hendrik, the Engagement Branch Team, and representatives from the Suriname government. The American team began the training with courses on Small Unit Tactics, Troop Leading Procedures, Tactical Field Care and Map Reading. The students progressed rapidly in the first week and took part in squad training exercises in the second week. At a formal awards ceremony on Friday, February 21, following the squad training exercises, the Engagement Branch team presented all students with United States Army Security Assistance Training Management Organization (USSATMO) certificates and coins to the best performing students.
This training highlights the ongoing cooperation and friendship between the armed forces of the United States and Suriname.