News: Deploying AFL soldiers complete military operations in urban terrain course
Story by Capt. Bryon McGarry
MONROVIA, Liberia - Armed Forces of Liberia soldiers slated to deploy to Mali completed a week-long course covering military operations in urban terrain provided by Operation ONWARD LIBERTY personnel at Camp Ware’s Armed Forces Training Command June 4. The MOUT course provided soldiers with training on various-sized unit movements through potentially dangerous urban areas.
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.
The 1st Platoon, 23rd Infantry Brigade soldiers followed a crawl, walk, run approach to learning the MOUT material, which was broken out into three phases. The first phase covered individual movements and techniques, including speed reload drills and weapon orientation, as well as urban patrolling as a fire team. The second phase involved squad-size patrolling, bounding and covering and room clearing. The final phase served as a culmination of the prior phases and challenged the entire platoon with scenario lanes in which they employed the skills and techniques they learned.
U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Bradley Williams, AFTC enlisted mentor, oversaw the training and said he was impressed with the platoon’s effort and vigilance. “The soldiers have been training together for several months now, and that’s evident in the way they move and operate as a unit,” he said.
AFL 1st. Sgt. McCarthy Gweesee, 1st Platoon 1st Sergeant, said his soldiers picked up the material well. “The instruction was very good and built on previous training we’ve received. Our soldiers were motivated throughout this course, and the key for us to stay motivated throughout the deployment.”
Gweesee added that the course was the most challenging training he’d been through in his military career and all soldiers should get the opportunity to go through it.
In summing up the platoon’s course performance, Williams noted, “We threw some pretty challenging scenarios at them, some of which involved them moving safely through danger areas and at times engaging enemies. They did well and I’m confident they’ll continue to improve.”