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SOUTHCOM Commander Makes Historic Visit to Jamaica

SOUTHCOM Commander Makes Historic Visit to Jamaica

From left to right: U.S. Southern Command Civilian Deputy to the Commander, Amb. Jean Manes; Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Chief of Defence Staff, Rear Adm. Antonette Wemyss Gorman; the Commander of U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Army Gen. Laura Richardson; the Commanding General of the District of Columbia National Guard, Maj. Gen. Sherrie L. McCandless; and U.S. Embassy Jamaica Charge d’Affairs, Linissa Wahid; pose for a photo after the JDF change-of-command. Richardson visited Jamaica Jan. 20-22, meeting with security leaders to reaffirm support of the U.S.-Jamaica security partnership. (Photo courtesy U.S. Embassy Jamaica)

KINGSTON — U.S. Army General Laura Richardson, who made history as the first woman to lead United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), visited Jamaica on January 20-22 for three days of high-level meetings focused on the United States’ longstanding bilateral defense ties with Jamaica.

Richardson attended the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Change-of-Command ceremony Friday night where Rear Admiral (RADM) Antonette Wemyss Gorman became the first woman to assume duties as the Jamaica’s Chief of Defence Staff.

On Saturday, RADM Wemyss Gorman and GEN Richardson met at the JDF Headquarters to discuss the ever-growing partnership between their organizations, shared security cooperation interests, and threats and challenges of mutual concern.

Richardson also met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Horace Chang to discuss security cooperation opportunities in support of cyber engagements, local security, and combatting illicit trafficking.

The SOUTHCOM commander kicked off her trip Thursday at the U.S. Embassy, meeting senior embassy officials including Chargé d’Affaires Linnisa Wahid to reinforce the U.S. whole-ofgovernment approach to supporting the U.S.-Jamaica security partnership.

On the historic visit, Richardson was also joined by U.S. Air Force Major General Sherrie McCandless, who also made history in 2021 as the first woman to assume Commanding General duties of the Washington, D.C. National Guard. The U.S. capital city’s National Guard has a state partnership with Jamaica established more than two decades ago.

This was General Richardson’s first visit to a Caribbean nation as the SOUTHCOM Commander.

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