News: Tanzanian military, Texas National guardsmen mentor soldiers
Story by Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania – Texas National guardsmen, deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, exchanged best practices with Tanzanian soldiers in the East African nation from early June to mid July.
U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Christopher Max, Charlie Troop, and Sgt. 1st Class Henry Aguirre, 712th Military Police Company, Task Force Raptor, 3rd Squadron, 124th Cavalry Regiment, Texas National Guard, participated in a mechanized infantry exchange hosted by the Tanzania People’s Defense Force from June 4 – 15.
Max, an instructor with the Combat Support Training and Evaluation Battalion at Camp Swift, Texas, discovered camaraderie between soldiers is the same regardless what country they are from.
“When you get down to it, it’s you and the soldier to your right and left,” Max said. “The U.S. soldiers I mentor back home have a sense of pride and loyalty to those they train with, and this was evident here in Tanzania as well.”
At a separate exchange, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Rubin and Sgt. Robert Willis, Bravo Troop, 3-124th CAV, shared their best practices with Tanzanian soldiers at a peace support operations soldier skills field training held June 4 – 29.
Together with Tanzanian instructors, Rubin and Willis helped mentor newer soldiers on skills ranging from base-defense operations to riot control. Willis, a squad leader in Bravo Troop, noticed significant improvements in the soldiers’ skills since day one.
“It was good to see how fast they picked up the information shared,” Willis said. “The most notable improvement was how they handled riot control. Between the experience the Tanzanian mentors and we shared, they were able to successfully accomplish the task by the seminar’s end.”
From June 25 – 29, U.S. Army Capt. Juan Jaimez, 712th MP Company, and 1st Lt. Laurent Escoto, 702nd MP Company, 3-124th CAV, were invited to participate in a garrison military police operations exchange hosted by the Tanzanians.
Escoto, a platoon leader in the 702nd MP Company, said the topics included military police intelligence operations, controlling civil disturbances, and working with military dogs. He said the exchange with the Tanzanian soldiers was an honor.
“It’s a great experience to be invited to participate in this exchange with fellow military police soldiers from Tanzania,” Escoto said. “It was just two years ago that I was learning these skills at basic officer leadership course; and now here I am, exchanging best practices on the subject.”
To wrap up the month-long exchange, TPDF soldiers invited U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Fabian Alban and Sgt. Patrick Horton, Alpha Troop, 3-124th CAV, to help mentor soldiers on crew-served weapons from July 2 – 13.
“At first, sharing our best practices was difficult due to the language barrier,” said Horton, a team leader in Alpha Troop. “However, we were able to pick up on some local weapons terminology to help with the process. We would say, ‘lengo’ for aim, ‘piga’ for fire, and ‘nzuri’ for okay. It was interesting to see how these simple phrases helped us better share our experience on the subject.”
The weapons the Tanzanian soldiers trained with were different than what the U.S. soldiers use. Despite the differences, Alban was grateful to learn something new.
“This is another weapon system I can add to my tool box,” said Alban, a section sergeant with Alpha Troop. “This is why these exchanges are valuable – we are able to learn so much from each other.”
Throughout their deployment, Texas Army National guardsmen will continue to conduct exchanges like these in support of CJTF-HOA, whose mission is to strengthen partner nation military capacity.