Vermont National Guard soldiers graduate from Brazilian Mountain School

Two Vermont Army National Guard Soldiers took part in the Brazilian Basic Mountaineering Course in April.

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class David Girr and Staff Sgt. Cyran Willis, Vermont National Guard, attend the basic mountaineering course in in Sao Joao Del Rei, Brazil, April 26, 2024. The pair of Soldiers graduated from the course marking an international exchange between two mountainous military organizations. (U.S. Army photo by courtesy asset)

Vermont Business Magazine Two Vermont Army National Guard Soldiers took part in the Brazilian Basic Mountaineering Course in April. Sgt. 1st Class David Girr and Staff Sgt. Cyran Willis successfully graduated from the challenging program held in Sao Joao Del Rei, Brazil.

The pair were invited to participate in the course as part of a broader mountain operations exchange program with the U.S. Army and the Brazilian Army. This initiative aims to enhance expertise in mountain warfare tactics and foster international camaraderie. Throughout their training, Girr and Willis worked closely with the 11th Mountain Infantry Battalion of the Brazilian Army.

“This experience has not only honed our technical skills,” said Girr, “but it has also taught us about the terrain here in Brazil offers.”

The Brazilian Basic Mountaineering Course is renowned for its rigorous training standards, designed to equip soldiers with the skills necessary to operate safely and effectively in mountainous environments. The course covers a variety of essential topics, including rock climbing, rappelling, and navigation, all tailored to the unique characteristics of Brazil’s topography.

“I'm so incredibly grateful for the amazing opportunities the Vermont National Guard provides,” said Girr. “From training with the Brazilians in South America to working with NATO forces in Kosovo and Eastern Europe, I can confidently say this is the best job I've ever had.”

As part of the ongoing exchange, the U.S. Army looks forward to hosting soldiers from the Brazilian Army at the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School in Vermont. The Vermont National Guard and U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School have longstanding relationships with multiple international mountaineering groups and hosted the 2023 International Association of Military Schools.

The successful completion of the mountaineering course by Girr and Willis marks a significant milestone in strengthening the U.S.-Brazil military mountainous education partnership, paving the way for further cooperative ventures that benefit both armed forces.

Source: 6.18.2024. Vermont Army National Guard

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