The combined military forces of nearly 17 Central and South American countries have gathered at Ft. Sam Houston this week for a combined anti terrorism exercise called 'Panamax,' News Radio 1200 WOAI reports
.Gen. Clarence Chinn, Commander of U.S. Army South, which is hosting the activities, says we're all in this together, and it is important to build relationships.
"If we are ever going to fight together, it is important that we train together," Gen. Chinn told News Radio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board. "Most importantly, that we trust each other."
The U.S. security agreement with Central and South America is critical in many ways. Not only are the oceans still a bulwark against terrorist and enemy military activity, but illegal immigration, for example, more and more involves people coming to Central or South America from places like Asia and East Africa, and then making the increasingly dangerous journey up through Mexico to the U.S.
This fictional exercise is geared to repelling an attack against the Panama Canal. The canal is seen as a high value target by terrorists due to its prominent role in international commerce, especially after undergoing a major expansion.
Gen. Chinn says not only will the U.S. join forces with Central and South American armies to fight an attack on the Western Hemisphere, but the U.S. and its American allies are more frequently standing together against worldwide threats, from Al-Qaeda to North Korea.
"With that mutual trust, anything is possible, and we know we can be successful wherever we go and fight in the world."