News: Deploying AFL soldiers participate in combat marksmanship course
Story by Capt. Bryon McGarry
MONROVIA, Liberia - Armed Forces of Liberia soldiers slated to deploy to Mali completed a combat marksmanship program course led by AFL instructors and supported by Operation ONWARD LIBERTY mentors at Edward Binyah Kesselly Military Barracks April 26.
The CMP course built on the deploying soldiers’ basic marksmanship knowledge and put them through various dynamic firing engagements, including moving from a kneeling to a standing position and engaging multiple targets while on the move. OOL mentors were on hand to provide subject matter expertise and support throughout.
ONWARD LIBERTY is a U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa-led operation comprised of joint U.S. service members who mentor and advise the AFL in order to develop a national military that is responsible, operationally capable and respectful of civilian authority and the rule of law. OOL’s goal is to assist the AFL in building a professional and capable military force that can effectively contribute to the overall security environment in Liberia. OOL personnel continue to mentor AFL leaders and training staff at all levels to ensure the deploying platoon is properly trained and equipped to succeed in partner-nation operations in Mali and to represent Liberia as a legitimate, capable and professional force for good.
U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Bradley Williams, AFL Armed Forces Training Command enlisted mentor, described the CMP course in comparison to basic weapons qualification. “CMP is more dynamic and reflexive vs. known-distance range firing, which is much more static,” he said. “Static range firing is very much fire a round, put your weapon down and move downrange to check your static target. CMP involves moving tactically in condition red [weapon loaded, with a round in the chamber] and engaging multiple targets simultaneously.”
AFL 1st. Lt. Nathaniel Waka, platoon commander, said the CMP course gave him and his soldiers a better understanding of the dynamic battlespace they may find themselves in. “Our OOL mentors and AFL trainers did a great job running the platoon through CMP methodically,” he said. “It’s very beneficial to the soldiers to get familiar and comfortable with firing at targets with variables in play. Ultimately, we want to be efficient and effective in everything we do, while maintaining safety for all involved. This course has further prepared us to do just that.”
U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gregory Starace, AFTC mentor, praised the platoon’s soldiers for their willingness and determination to further their knowledge. “Over two and a half months, this group of soldiers has made great strides in improving their proficiency with their weapons,” he said. “They’re focused and determined to get better every day, and that shows in their growing confidence.”