News: Military reservists deploy to West Africa to train with regional forces
THIES, Senegal - U.S. service members, primarily reservists from the Marines, Navy, Army and Air Force recently deployed to Senegal, West Africa to take part in the inaugural exercise called Western Accord.
Western Accord 2012 is a scheduled U.S. training event hosted by Marine Forces Africa and consists of Peace Keeping, Peace Support, Disaster Response and Humanitarian Assistance exercises. The training is designed to build, integrate and refine stability operations with partner nations while enhancing command, control and communications of participating forces.
Task Force Commander, Col. Anthony Fernandez, III said, “Our combined efforts and shared purpose will not only pave the way for future regional exercises but also forge a personal bond amongst our warriors.”
The Senegalese leader, Brig. Gen. Papa Samba Kamara, Senegal Army Chief of Staff said, “Western Accord 2012 is the way to build unified strength to protect and defend the West African community. This cooperation should help the different units involved to enhance their capacities and perfect their knowledge to build peace.”
Although the exercise is new to Senegal, these exercises have been successful in other parts of the continent and prepare service members for real-world scenarios. Gunnery Sgt. Brian Ross, Operations Chief of Marine Forces Africa said, “We’ve seen great demonstrations of interoperability between the Marine Corps and partner nation forces, whether they are large scale CJCS exercises like AFRICAN LION or SHARED ACCORD to small engagements involving two or three Marines.
The objectives of Western Accord 2012 include:
• Prepare U.S. and West African forces for stability operations
• Conduct Humanitarian Assistance operations and improve West African Nations capability to respond to complex Humanitarian Emergencies
• Train U.S. forces to operate in an austere environment alongside partner nations
• Enhance training facilities for future operations
Infantry battalions from the various nations are the primary training audience for this exercise, however, there is a large humanitarian civic assistance program consisting of both medical and dental cadres that require expertise from various supporting units throughout the U.S.
The combined exercise involves nearly 600 U.S. service members and approximately 600 members of the Armed Forces of Senegal, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Gambia and France will participate. The exercise is coordinated by Marine Forces Africa and runs from June 26 – July 24.
The primary U.S. military units and personnel supporting Western Accord are:
• 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines (based in Brook Park, Ohio with companies in Akron and Columbus)
• Marine Forces Africa (based in Stuttgart, Germany)
• Marine Forces Reserve and 4th Marine Division (based in New Orleans, La.)
• Marine Civil Affairs (based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.)
• Marine Wing Service and Support 473 (based in Ft. Worth, Texas)
• 6th Engineer Support Battalion (based in Ft. Lewis, Wash.)
• 4th Medical Battalion (based in San Diego, Calif.)
• 4th Dental Battalion (based in Marietta, Ga.)
• 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard (based in Austin, Texas)
• 404th Civil Affairs Battalion (based in Ft. Dix, N.J.)
• 75th Training Division, Army Reserve (based in Ft. Sill, Okla.)
• Medical Detachment, Vermont Army National Guard (based in Colchester, Vt.)
• 158th Figther Wing, Vermont Air National Guard (based in Burlington, Vt.)
Date Posted:07.10.2012 14:56
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