U.S. Marine Corps Forces train soldiers Ugandan army counter-terrorism combat engineering 2203124

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Thursday, March 22, 2012, 12:29 AM
 
U.S. Marine Corps Forces train soldiers of Ugandan army in counter-terrorism combat engineering.
A small team of Marines of United States Armed Forces with U.S. Marine Forces Africa (MARFORAF) traveled to Kampala, Uganda in March 2012 to train soldiers of the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) in counter-terrorism combat engineering.
(By Hakeem A. Buuza U.S. Embassy, Uganda Print Share)

     
A small team of Marines of United States Armed Forces with U.S. Marine Forces Africa (MARFORAF) traveled to Kampala, Uganda in March 2012 to train soldiers of the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) in counter-terrorism combat engineering.
U.S. Marine Sergeant David Ash explains combat marksmanship tactics to a soldier of the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) during ongoing training in counter-terrorism combat engineering, March 2012.
     

The Marines, part of the Security Cooperation Team - 2, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - 12 (SCT-2, SPMAGTF-12), out of Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Italy, will serve seven weeks training, equipping, and organizing combat-experienced UPDF soldiers into counter-terrorism engineer companies to support infantry battalions already deployed as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Initially one UPDF company will be trained, with two additional companies slated for training later this year. The three companies will form the basis of Uganda's Field Engineer Regiment.

The training will enable freedom of movement and ease the combat operations of UPDF troops operating in the urban environment of Mogadishu, according to Major Charles Baker, Uganda - OIC, SPMAGTF-12, MARFORAF.

"The genesis of this mission was operations in Mogadishu, Somalia, where African Union peacekeepers experienced IEDs and other complex obstacles, which exposed them to ambushes by al-Shabaab, "Baker said.

     
U.S. Marine Sergeant Steven Shettlesworth explains weapons handling tactics to a group of the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) soldiers during ongoing counter-terrorism combat engineering training, March 2012.
U.S. Marine Sergeant Steven Shettlesworth explains weapons handling tactics to a group of the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) soldiers during ongoing counter-terrorism combat engineering training, March 2012.

     
In addition to this training, AMISOM troops will receive combat engineer tool kits and mine detectors, as well as armored dozers and front-end loaders to support peacekeeping operations.

According to SCT-2 Team Leader Captain Conrad Rinto, the U.S. Marines -- who include infantry engineers, loading station specialists, and communications specialists, among others -- bring real combat engineering experience to the training.

"The UPDF soldiers here are incredibly enthusiastic, which motivates us to train them. One of the great things we can offer them is the skill sets that the Marines have and are willing to share," explains Rinto.

Colonel James Ruhesi, a UPDF Officer involved in the training, shares this view, describing the training as a great opportunity for the UPDF to build its forces' engineering core functions.

"Normally we have been sending one or two officers to the U.S. for this training, but now we have a chance to train a big number of our forces and build the engineering capacity of our troops to use the equipment the U.S. government has donated to us," he says.

 

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