Military Matters: WHINSEC turning 15 - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Military Matters: WHINSEC turning 15

Col. Keith Anthony, WHINSEC Commandant.jpg Col. Keith Anthony, WHINSEC Commandant.jpg

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) – A Fort Benning establishment with a long name is celebrating a birthday this week. It's the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

If you ask folks to describe WHINSEC, they may mention the annual demonstration against the former School of the Americas, the institute's forerunner. Protestors should know the two could not be more different.

Col. Keith Anthony, WHINSEC Commandant says that, “They come with one side of the story, and I'm very happy to receive them… we're able to tell our side of the story as well, and they see us as people, and truly, the institute is people, the U.S. Army is people, and everything we do here is legal, ethical and moral.”

Instructor Achim Biller says what he does here is very exciting, “I like the fact that on a daily basis I work with our partner nation allies. Just in my section alone we have representatives from five different countries, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Peru.”

Cuba could be added to that list now that the U.S. has restored diplomatic relations.

Five men have served as commandant at this institute since it was created in 2001, but only one began as a student. It's the current leader, Colonel Keith Anthony.

As a senior officer, Col. Anthony oversees training for soldiers from 34 countries. They are receiving what Anthony calls a 360-degree experience: “It's not just about the training and education that they get here. They also get to interact with people in the United States, and the values of the United States, and when they go back to their country they have a very positive image of what we do.”

They are going to have a big birthday party Thursday to celebrate what they do at WHINSEC.

The birthday party will be held at 2:30 p.m. in the Whinsec Auditorium on Fort Benning's Baltzell Ave. featuring a cake and a special guest speaker.

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