News: Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa completes training engagement with UPDF
Story by Cpl. Ryan Joyner
CAMP SINGO, Uganda - Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 13.3 Marines and sailors recently finished a 10-week training engagement with Uganda People’s Defense Force soldiers in Camp Singo, Uganda, from July to September.
Over the weeks of training together, the team of Marines and sailors worked with the 160 soldiers covering combat marksmanship, medical care and logistical support.
“Even on the first day of training, it was apparent the soldiers had a drive to learn as much as they could from the Marines,” said Chief Petty Officer Ariel Guerrero, medical chief with Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa 13, from Miami, Fla.
In order for the UPDF soldiers to perform combat marksmanship training, the Marines and sailors had to create and manage their own ranges to handle the course of fire.
“Ensuring that as much training and experience could be gained by the UPDF while maintaining safety was paramount, “ said Gunnery Sgt. Andres Hernandez, a Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa 13 team chief.
On the known distance range, the soldiers fired a total of 200 rounds each from various distances.
“It was a night and day difference when it came to marksmanship from the first day to the next. There was a noticeable improvement,” said Guerrero.
Along with infantry and logistics classes, the team of Marines and sailors ensured the soldiers could react properly to casualties by going over various scenarios and having them treat simulated wounds and injuries.
Medical personnel went in depth into the use of splints and tourniquets during combat lifesaver classes and had the soldiers practice on each other identifying and treating simulated injuries.
Throughout the weeks, the Marines and sailors trained with the soldiers in their respective jobs. The team of reserve Marines and sailors provides a diversity of skills learned from both their civilian jobs and the military that they shared with their Ugandan counterparts.
The engagement culminated in a two-day exercise that tested the soldiers in a variety of situations from planning convoy operations and setting up and maintaining a forward operating base to performing immediate action drills. The final event directly demonstrated how much the UPDF had retained and could apply in real-world situations.
“The soldiers were really receptive to the training and very eager to learn,” said Guerrero.
The training reinforced the UPDF soldier’s skills and knowledge, which will benefit them in their future operations with African Union Mission in Somalia.
Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 13 allows U.S. Marine Forces Africa and U.S. Africa Command the ability to build and grow strong relationships with partner nations in order to create a more stable region. The unit is a rotational force that participates in ta six-month pre-planned deployment cycle. This iteration is composed of Marines and sailors from more than 30 different active and reserve units from across the U.S., with the majority coming from 4th Combat Engineer Battalion based in Baltimore, Md.