By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Richard Miller
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. (March 12, 2015) – Gen. Joseph Votel, commander, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) presented the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School’s (NAVSCIATTS) Distinguished Alumni Award to Colombian Rear Adm. Paulo Guevara, commander, Task Force Poseidon, in a ceremony held March 12.
The presentation occurred during a graduation ceremony for more than 40 students from various countries.
NAVSCIATTS established the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013 in conjunction with the schools’ 50th anniversary. The first recipient to earn the award was Rear Adm. Juan Pablo Rodriguez, Military Defense Attaché, Honduran Embassy, Mexico City. The award provides a tool to engage senior officers and maintain relationships with alumni.
“I am very honored to have been chosen to receive the 2014 NAVSCIATTS Distinguished Alumni Award,” said Guevara. “It reflects the personal and professional effort and dedication of thousands of men and women who make up the Armed Forces of the Republic of Colombia, who are committed to continue the fight against narcotics and who would like to free future generations of this terrible affliction.”
Guevara attended the NAVSCIATTS in 1989 at its former location on Naval Base Rodman, Panama where he graduated the Patrol Officer Coastal Course.
“The training I received was fundamental and helped me increase my knowledge and skills as a Naval Officer, but it mostly helped me create bonds of friendship with members of the U.S. Navy and other Latin American countries; bonds that I still maintain,” said Guevara.
Since completing NAVSCIATTS training, Guevara has moved through the ranks of the Colombian navy and played a key role in his country’s fight against drug trafficking organizations.
“Rear Adm. Guevara embodies the school’s motto of ‘stronger together,’” said Votel. “I look forward to working with him and building upon the ever-strengthening relationship between Colombia and the United States.”
NAVSCIATTS trains and educates Foreign Security Force and other international students on small craft strategy, operations, communications, weapons, maintenance and instructor development. More than 10,000 students from more than 100 partner nations have graduated since 1963, with an average of 400 – 500 students graduating each year.
“I truly believe that this facility sets the standard for building relationships through its diverse courses and instructions across a spectrum of security operations for our partners around the globe,” said Votel. “It is the center of excellence for others to emulate.”