CAMP MUDUBUGU, Burundi – While in support of the theater security cooperation mission in Burundi, Marines and sailors with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 14.1 have been training a group of soldiers with the Burundi National Defense Force.
The training began in late January, 2014 and is designed to prepare the BNDF to deploy in support of the African Union Mission in Somalia.
The latest period of instruction was basic marksmanship. The Marines taught the BNDF basic weapons handling skills, basic weapons safety and conducted a live-fire exercise where the Burundian soldiers shot their weapons.
“We ran modified table one, fired from the prone, sitting and kneeling,” said Cpl. William Sierzant, a hygiene equipment operator, with the team training the BDNF. “The language barrier definitely made it difficult, a lot of them will speak a little English.”
Luckily, the Marines have planned for that situation and have contracted local civilians who speak English as well as the local languages.
Even with the challenges faced, Sierzant said he enjoys what he does while training with his Burundian counterparts.
“I like seeing the guys improve and actually moving and adjust their sights, they’ve never done that before,” he said.
“They’re pretty good,” he added. “A bunch of good guys, who are really eager to learn from us. They pay attention in class very well. They are very familiar with their weapons even though they haven’t shot them very much … assembly and disassembly, they’re great at that.”
According to Sierzant, the BDNF have excelled at learning several portions of the training very well.
“They loved the (combat lifesaving) training we gave them,” he said. “They took the land navigation we gave them pretty well, too. You can tell they’re getting a little more comfortable with being put under a little bit of stress, so I think they appreciate that.”