SOUTHCOM Commander makes historic visit to Jamaica

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Gen. Laura Richardson, Commander, U.S. Southern Command with Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman, Jamaica's first woman Chief of Defence Staff at a reception held in her honor.

By Embassy of the United States of America

KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – US Army General (GEN) 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 Dr Horace Chang to discuss security cooperation opportunities in support of cyber engagements, local security, and combatting illicit trafficking.

Caribbean News Global US_JA_southcom SOUTHCOM Commander makes historic visit to Jamaica
From L-R: Ambassador Jean Manes, Civillian Deputy and Foreign Policy Advisor, U.S. Southern Command; Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman, Chief of Defence Staff; Gen. Laura Richardson, Commander, U.S. Southern Command; Linnisa Wahid, Chargé d’ Affaires, United States Embassy, Kingston and Maj. Gen. Sherrie McCandless, District of Columbia National Guard CG.

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

On the historic visit, Richardson was also joined by US 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 US capital city’s National Guard has a state partnership with Jamaica established more than two decades ago.

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

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