BURAMATA, Burundi – Burundi National Defense Force soldiers recently shared 10 weeks of pre-deployment training with the U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy assigned to Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 13, near the 110 Brigade Compound here.
The purpose of the training was to enhance Burundian security capabilities for their upcoming Somalia deployment said Cpl. Jeffery Haggard, SP-MAGTF Africa 13.
Since 2007, the BNDF have deployed forces in support of the African Union Mission in Somalia.
“This training is very important because there is terrorism worldwide and with this training I can face the fighting against war on terror in Africa, Burundi and maybe elsewhere,” said a BNDF lieutenant. “It’s very important to me because I know how to protect my country better.”
Overall, BNDF soldiers participated in the training, which covered medical care, infantry, marksmanship and combat engineering. Most of the participants have deployed in support of AMISOM in the past.
“They understand what it takes to fight for their bothers to the left and right of them,” said Staff Sgt. Jake Kincaid also from SP-MAGTF Africa 13. “They learned something new every day and we explained how effective it could be to them.”
“As terrorism is spreading in Africa, we can join together as an African Union; that way we can fight against the war on terror before it arrives here,” said a BNDF adjudant chef.
The first skill taught to the soldiers was tactical combat casualty care.
“We showed them how effective tourniquets are on the battlefield and how to get them on,” said Kincaid. “We also taught them to shoot back, get rid of the threat and then take care of the wounds.”
Lessons shared also covered basic infantry skills. The soldiers were taught tactical movement, concealment and how to draw weapons. Following the infantry portion, the Marines taught basic marksmanship.
“I’m more accurate at marksmanship because of what I have learned from the Marines,” said a Burundian adjutant-chef, who has spent a year deployed to Somalia.
After marksmanship, the remainder of the course was focused on combat engineer skills and urban breaching. Combat engineer training centered on route reconnaissance and basic demolitions.
“Urban breaching is taking smaller amounts of explosives and packing it on a door to blow it in,” said Kincaid, a Charleston, W.Va., native. “You’ll surprise the enemy with the explosives and then you’ll be able to effectively enter and clear a house, safely and swiftly.
At the conclusion, each country shared what they learned from one another.
“Now I can do the combat engineer without being accompanied by someone else,” said a BNDF adjutant-chef. “Now we can be together with other soldiers from elsewhere in Africa or elsewhere in the world and work together as a team.”
U.S. service members found the exchange beneficial as well.
“It’s very rewarding just to know that we are out here teaching these guys and giving them the knowledge we have so they can go out and fight in Somalia,” said Haggard, an Indianapolis native.
“I have a lot of pride in them,” said Kincaid. “I am proud to say that I helped them.”
SP-MAGTF Africa 13, based at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, strengthens U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa and U.S. Africa Command’s ability to assist partner nations in addressing their security challenges. The approximately 150 Marines and sailors conduct security force assistance, military-to-military engagements and are trained to provide support to crisis response. In Burundi, the pre-deployment training is in support of Combined Joint Force-Horn of Africa.
This work, BNDF enhances security with SP-MAGTF Africa 13, by SSgt Rachel Waller, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.