US Southern Command deputy director vows to keep helping Trinidad and Tobago

David Greene - Photo by Lincoln Holder
David Greene - Photo by Lincoln Holder

A TT-born military officer with the US Southern Command said it was an honour for him to be involved in the command's continuing promise mission to help his native land.

Part of that mission involved the donation of field hospitals to the Government.

These were the sentiments expressed by David Greene to the media after a series of exercises at the TT Defence Force (TTDF) Military Academy in Corinth on Wednesday, as part of Continuing Promise 2023.

US Ambassador Candace Bond observed and participated in some of the exercises at the academy.

Greene is deputy director of the Southern Command's J7/9 exercises and coalition affairs directorate.

He is based in Florida.

A statement on the Southern Command's website said, "By developing a well-trained workforce focused on innovative and cooperative solutions, the J7/9 establishes and enhances partnerships across the US government, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, the business sector, academia, and all aspects of civil society."

Greene told the media that his colleagues fondly refer to him as "aka Trini."

Born in San Fernando, a former student of Pleasantville Junior Secondary School, Greene left TT for the US when he was 18.

He has been at the Southern Command for the last three years.

Greene has been working with the US Department of Defence for the last 30 years.

"For me it's not a pleasure. It's actually an honour for me to be able to come back here, represent Southern Command and do something that is worthwhile and it's going to benefit my country."

Green added that he was "born and raised right down the street here in San Fernando."

He was pleased to be part of the Continuing Promise 2023 mission which involves the visit of the US Navy transport ship Burlington to TT between September 2-10.

During that time, US military personnel from the Burlington will be engaged in a series of activities throughout the country.

Greene said, "The whole thing about Continuing Promise 2023 is really to build the capacity of nations such as TT and build your resiliency to better respond to humanitarian crises and health pandemics."

Earlier in the day, Greene briefed Bond and TTDF Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Air Marshall Darryl Daniel about the two field hospitals donated by Southern Command to the Government.

He said, "Those two field hospitals were given in 2021 at a cost of approximately US$1.3 million and there is more."

Greene added, "We will be working constantly with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) as well as TEMA (Tobago Emergency Management Agency) in Tobago."

He disclosed that soon Bond will donate a third field hospital to TEMA.

Greene said the TTDF receives regular training from their US counterparts with respect to operating the field hospitals.

The hospitals come with 40 beds and other essential items such as sinks and air condition units.

Greene said when these hospitals are fully deployed "it helps support the overwhelming medical capabilities of other countries."

He recalled the two hospitals donated in 2021 were used to treat covid19 patients.

These hospitals, Greene continued, could be set up by 20 people in the space of two days.

They can be dismantled in one day and a half.

Referring to a demonstration at the academy by Fire Service officers of techniques used to save people from drowning, Greene said, "What we try to do is when we do this type of training, is something like we call train the trainers."

He added that US military personnel will train their local counterparts in different skills and these people will impart those skills to those who are under their command.

Greene said local national security entities can liaise with the US Embassy if they need additional training for their personnel.

Burlington commanding officer, Cmdr Charles Castevens, was happy about the interactions between US personnel and local stakeholders since the vessel arrived in TT.

Castevens said medical and dental professionals from the ship have been working in various hospitals and clinics, engineers (Navy Seabees) have been involved in different infrastructural projects and the US Navy band has been doing free concerts for the public.

He added that the Burlington will be going to Grenada for the final part of its mission.

Last month, the vessel visited Panama and Colombia before coming to TT.

In a statement on August 4, US Naval Forces Southern Command/US 4th Fleet commander, Rear Adm. Jim Aiken said " The Continuing Promise mission reflects our enduring commitment to the region as we work collaboratively with our friends to ensure a secure, free, and prosperous hemisphere."


"US Southern Command deputy director vows to keep helping Trinidad and Tobago"

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