U.S. Special Forces Soldiers train with Bahamian commandos


Commandos of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) worked with U.S. allies recently when they trained with Operational Detachment Alpha from 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

Eleven U.S. Soldiers joined 25 commandos from the RBDF for six weeks of Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) in the Caribbean nation. They worked on maritime commando tactics, techniques and procedures from June 8 to July 31, 2021. The 7th Special Forces Group is headquartered at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

In addition, the United States trained with the RBDF in outboard motor maintenance and repair through the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School at Stennis Space Center, Mississippi. (Pictured: Navy Capt. Gregg Gellman, the U.S. defense attache and senior defense official to the Bahamas, looks on as RBDF students participate in maritime equipment maintenance training in Nassau on July 28, 2021.)

JCET comes under the Bilateral Security Cooperation Framework (BSCF) between U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and the RBDF. Such instruction furthers the strategic goal of the BSCF, which is to improve the defense of North America. The training ensures that the U.S. and the Bahamas are capable of working in conjunction with each other and with regional partners, as well as sharing threat information and intelligence.

Army Brig. Gen. Shawn R. Satterfield, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command North (SOCNORTH), pictured, and U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts attended the closing ceremony for the commandos at the RBDF Coral Harbour Base in Nassau on July 29, 2021.

SOCNORTH is the special operations component of USNORTHCOM. It produced a 30-second video montage of the Bahamas training that was posted on USNORTHCOM’s social media sites. In a July 21, 2021, discussion on special operations forces (SOF), Satterfield emphasized that training with allies is critical to defense of the U.S. homeland. He shared an important maxim:

“Competent SOF cannot be created after emergencies occur.” The members of the Bahamian Commando Squadron receive training in a number of areas, including counterterrorism and amphibious operations, according to the RBDF. They also participate in Trade Winds, the annual U.S. Southern Command-sponsored joint exercise that includes forces from the Caribbean, United Kingdom and the United States.

As Pitts, pictured, said of the Bahamas in June 2021 when the U.S. donated three high-speed boats to the RBDF: “Your security is our security, and vice versa.”