Commander Defence Force, Commodore Tellis Bethel, officially welcomed the 800 participants from 22 nations to Tradewinds 2018 during a soft opening ceremony on June 14th at the Defence Force Base. As he welcomed the troops to The Bahamas, Commodore Bethel, who is also the Chief of Defence Staff for the regional exercise, encouraged participants to take advantage of every opportunity to learn and improve their skills for the collective security of the region. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force is hosting Phase 2 of the annual regional training exercise, which culminates on June 21st with the official closing ceremony and a cultural event. Tradewinds is coordinated by the United States Southern Command with the support of Northern Command, as well as forces from Canada, United Kingdom, and Mexico. Phase 1 of the training exercise was conducted on the island of St. Kitts from June 4th – 13th.
This preliminary training was used to prepare forces for the final training and implementation phase in The Bahamas. Also participating in this year’s exercise is the Royal Bahamas Police Force, Bahamas Customs, and The Bahamas Immigration Department. The largest military training exercise of its kind, this is an annual regional military training exercise that focuses on Countering Transnational Organized crime in the region. It also promotes regional security cooperation by enabling military forces to provide support for law enforcement.