QUEPOS, Costa Rica - Twenty-two Costa Rican Guarda Costas attended a recent two-day workshop conducted by Sgt. 1st. Class David Muniz and Sgt. Michael Marfia, medics from New Mexico National Guard, as part of the National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program.

The Subject Matter Expert Exchange, or SMEE, aims to deepen the shared knowledge of the partners on topics of benefit for both. New Mexico and Costa Rica have maintained a state partnership since 2006 and conduct bilateral training on medical expertise, armorer information, border security and aviation topics, among others.

This first responder medical exchange was slightly different than those previously conducted as it was a group from one service instead of a mixed class. Typically, police, border security, firefighter and coast guard personnel all fill the available slots for each exchange. For the first time in about nine courses, the exchange was held at the Guarda Costa Academy here and was filled solely by coast guard members.

The New Mexico National Guard experts, Muniz and Marfia, offer a baseline level of medical response information to the participants during these exchanges. Marfia said he could see the benefit of individual services attending another level of medical information and modifying the content toward the unique issues.

"The class was able to work together as a group on the group exercises because of them all working together in general," he said. "Possibly for future iterations when you have classes from the same type of unit, you can tailor the training to their specific needs."

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