News: Marines and West Africans Train to Fight Together
THIES, Senegal – The sound of U.S. service rifles and Kalashnikovs can be heard across the dusty, arid training area Mont Rolland, dubbed the “Fishbowl,” due to the tall embankments surrounding it, as Marines and West African partner nations train and shoot the principles of combat marksmanship during Exercise Western Accord 2012 in Thies, Senegal.
“Most modern engagements take place in close quarters,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel Lingeman, a fire team leader for Lima Company, 3rd Battalion 25th Marine Regiment. “Being able to pivot, move into position and fire in circumstances other than a marksmanship range is very important,” said Lingeman.
Basic combat marksmanship focuses on techniques and maneuvers effective in urban environments and close-quarters battle, such as inside a building. Basic skills include: firing from a distance less than 50 yards; firing from the pivot; firing while moving forward; “controlled pairs,” which are two well-aimed shots; “hammered pairs,” or two shots in rapid succession; failure-to-stop drills, for neutralizing the target; as well as weapons safety and tactics useful for close-quarter combat situations.
“One of the most important things is that they get a better understanding and familiarity of their weapon,” said Capt. Lamin Njie, company commander for the Gambian detachment participating in WA-12.
“If they can grasp how their weapons behave, it will give them more proficiency in their operations,” said Njie.
All the nations participating in WA-12 belong to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); a united front of African nations that have banded together for common economic benefit. Participating nations include the U.S., Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso and France.
“It’s working with the Marines and also in a multi-national environment,” said Njie.
“It will help us with interoperability; wherever [our forces] find themselves, they will be able to coordinate with whatever [partner] forces they come across.”
The combat marksmanship training is one of the many counterinsurgency-themed training exercises, or “lane training,” for WA-12 that will help inter-country familiarity with partner tactics and procedures and bolster endearing partnerships with U.S. and West African nations.
Other lanes of training include: non-lethal weapons and crowd control; cordon, search and seizure techniques; urban combat training; demolition training; implementing entry-control points; and vehicle convoy operations.
“It’s training the way you fight,” said Lingeman.
“The potential is always out there that we might find each other fighting together some day; being able to share tactics, techniques and procedures is key if we have to work in a more serious environment than this.”
Exercise Western Accord 2012 is a multi-lateral training exercise with West African nations to increase understanding and interoperability, prevent conflict by enabling Africans to provide for their security and stability, strengthen relationships with partner nations, and promote and support U.S. national security priorities. The training will conclude July 24.
Date Posted:07.16.2012 05:53
Hometown:STUTTGART, BW, DE
Hometown:CINCINNATI, OH, US
Hometown:COLUMBUS, OH, US
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