By Lt. Nicholas Tawil, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs
PANAMA CITY, Panama (NNS) -- Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 3 Sailors participated in an exercise Aug. 12 as part of PANAMAX 2010, an annual exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command and designed to integrate a multinational task force in defense of the Panama Canal.
A portion of the squadron, including 19 Sailors, two riverine patrol boats, and accompanying support equipment, were airlifted to Panama City, where they were partnered with U.S. Marines and Panamanian forces in a complex training scenario.
Each component was called to play their part to stop simulated drug runners and insurgents along the Chagres River and the adjacent jungles.
The event included a rigorous schedule of daily classes and on-water operations made for a fast paced and engaging partnership.
Lt. Brett Ringo, RIVRON 3 detachment leader, said the Riverines were excited to have the opportunity to participate in such a unique and challenging environment.
"I was really impressed with their capability, motivation, and preparedness," said Ringo. "It's not every day we get to operate in this dense jungle environment, and the Panamanians are great at it."
The involvement of Riverines in joint brown-water training and operations exemplified Riverines as a critical enabling component of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, and increased partnerships between Navy, Marine Corps and Panamanian services.
PANAMAX is one of the largest multinational training exercises in the world, and involved more than 2,000 personnel from 18 nations in this year's exercise. The annual exercise series focuses on ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal, one of the most strategically and economically crucial infrastructure systems in the world.