Posts Tagged 'U.S. Marine Forces Africa'

10 Things about Western Accord

During June 26 to July 24, 2012, more than 1,200 military service men and women are participating in Western Accord, an inaugural exercise in Thiés, Senegal, designed to improve peacekeeping capabilities and proficiencies. Participating nations this year include Senegal, Burkina Faso, Guinea, The Gambia and France, along with another 600 military personnel from the United States. Below are ten facts regarding the exercise.

1.  Exercise Western Accord 2012 is a multi-lateral training exercise with West African nations to increase understanding and interoperability, prevent conflict by enabling Africans to provide for their security and stability, strengthen relationships with partner nations, and promote and support U.S. national security priorities.  Task Force Commander, Colonel Anthony Fernandez, III said, “Our combined efforts and shared purpose will not only pave the way for future regional exercises but also forge a personal bond amongst our warriors.”

2.  Western Accord 2012 is led by U.S. Marine Forces Africa and sponsored by U.S. Africa Command.

3.  The exercise includes: live-fire and combat marksmanship training, peacekeeping operations, disaster response, and intelligence capacity building.

4. Concurrent with the exercise, U.S.military professionals from the Vermont Army National Guard, along with a Senegalese Medical Detachment, will provide medical assistance to the local residents in and around the communities of Dakar and Thiés.

5.  The U.S. and African medical and dental staffs  treated nearly 1,800 patients in Senegal during Western Accord 2012.  “It’s a great opportunity,” said Air Force Captain Jason Galipeau, the project officer with the 158th Fighter Wing located in South Burlington, Virginia. “It feels great. It is something that will stick with [the service members] through their whole career.”

6.  Participating U.S. forces include Marines from the 3rd Battalion and 25th Marine Regiment, who will be making up the primary element of the task force, along with reservists from all across the U.S. to include the 4th Medical Battalion, Vermont Army National Guard, and Marine Wing Support Squadron 473.  “It’s been a really great experience being able to share and work with our African partners.  I think it’s important for us to be on the same level of training as much as we can be,” said Lance Corporal Ryan M. Logan, an assistant gunner, Lima Company, 3/25.

7.  One theme of the exercise is listening to the perspectives of African leaders and citizens.  This enables participants to understand the challenges Africans face, to conduct programs in response to their requests, and to ensure their security needs are being met.

8.  Western Accord is designed to provide combined arms training for ground combat elements while simultaneously providing humanitarian assistance to local residents.

9. As part of Western Accord 2012, U.S. Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment will be spending time with joint forces from the various West African nations to train and exchange their shared experiences of non-lethal weapons and crowd-control tactics.  “First thing we did was find out what kind of experiences they had because it’s a possibility they have more real-world experience in these kinds of scenarios than us.  We also want to know what they can teach us,” said Sergeant Jonah L. Saylers, an instructor for non-lethal weapons and crowd control techniques from Lima Company, 3/25.

10.  Distinguished visitors of Western Accord 2012 included: General Carter F. Ham, the commander of U.S. Africa Command; Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Jones, U.S. Defense Attaché to Senegal; Colonel Douglas Fairfeld, chief of staff for U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa; The Honorable Robert Yamate, Charge d’Affairs of the U.S. Embassy in Dakar; Brigadier General Richard N. Harris Jr., chief of joint staff of the Vermont Air National Guard; Admiral Ousmane, Ibrahima Sall, deputy chief of staff of the Armed Forces of Senegal; Brigadier General Pape Samba Kamara, chief of the Senegalese army; Brigadier General Gregoire Saint-Quentin, commander, French Elements in Senegal; Colonel Vinta Some, Burkina Faso Contingent commander, ECOWAS Standby Force; Abdoulie Kah, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Defense, Gambia; Brigadier General Namory Traore, deputy chief of staff of the Armed Forces, Guinea.

Other views on African Lion 2012

We’ve posted a lot in the past two weeks about the U.S. – Moroccan exercise African Lion, which wrapped up yesterday in Morocco. The exercise involved about 1,200 U.S. and 900 Moroccan military members sharing knowledge and training on everything from amphibious assault landings to water purification to medical and dental treatment.

We’ve brought you stories, photos and videos of it all, thanks to our U.S. Marine Forces Africa and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit public affairs personnel.

But how was the event viewed in Morocco? Like most such engagements, there are supporters and detractors.

Our on-staff Arab linguist translated some of the local media reports and online commentary for us. Here are some excerpts:

The objective of this exercise is to strengthen the capabilities of both militaries to maneuver, fight terrorism and gather Intel, in addition to conducting other social activities by providing humanitarian services and aid to the local population.

Assdae Al-Maghreb Online

“African Lion aims to ‘reinforce the coordination and cooperation between the armed forces of both countries, and the mutual understanding of their respective military techniques and standard operating procedures.'”

Sheba Center for Strategic Studies

“Ahmed Chnaoui, the General Coordinator of the Movement for the consideration of the tribe of  the ‘Oulad Buaayta’  … directly criticized the Commander of the Southern Military Region, General de Corps d’Armee, Abdelazizi Bennani, ‘who turned the area which belongs to the noble Oulad Buaayta tribe into an international experimental military center which hosts, among others, NATO air forces.’”


“Because of what is happening close to our lovely kingdom, it’s not enough to have a weapon but you must know how to use it as well. So for the people who are living around the military area, it’s not bad to sacrifice for the country.”

— Reader comment on Hespress

” A well-trained army will protect us from the enemies who surround us.”

— Reader comment on Hespress

“Morocco sure needs to conduct exercises with USMC (United States Marine Corps) for our national security because we have three neighbors at risk, Mauritania, Mali and southern Algerian. The world security evolves and so must Morocco.”

— Reader comment on Hespress

African Lion kicks off in Morocco

Marines with Joint Task Force African Lion 2012 prepare to board a C-130 aircraft at the Inezgane Airfield, in Agadir, Morocco, April 6. During AL-12, C-130's will transport more than 1,000 U.S. and Moroccan armed forces and supplies to six different exercise locations throughout the Kingdom of Morocco. AL-12 is a U.S. African Command-sponsored, Marine Forces Africa-led exercise designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of U.S. and Moroccan military tactics, techniques and procedures. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Hugo Brito)

Some 1,000 U.S.  service members are in Morocco this month for African Lion, the largest bilateral military exercise on the African continent.

Sponsored by U.S. Africa Command, the annual exercise is a partnership between Marine Forces Africa and the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces. Participating units include 3rd Battalion, 14th Marines, 4th Combat Engineering Battalion, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine regiment infantrymen, 4th Combined Anti-Armor Team and 4th Marine Logistics Group, plus multiple sub-units. More than 900 Royal Moroccan soldiers will join U.S. military personnel in the exercise.

The bulk of Africa Lion takes place over the next two weeks. Highlights include field and aviation training, amphibious assault training and humanitarian and peacekeeping training. U.S. and Moroccan forces will conduct arms fire and maneuver ranges and aerial refueling and deliveries of supplies, as well as command post and non-lethal weapons training, according to a press release from U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe. Six different locations around Morocco will be involved.

African Lion will also include medical, dental and veterinarian assistance projects. Medical professionals from Utah Army National Guard and 4th Medical Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, expect to assist thousands of local residents and provide more than 1,600 prescription glasses to Moroccan children, according to the African Lion lead medial officer.

The first African Lion exercise took place in 2008. This year’s exercise took about six months to plan.

Look for much more coverage on our website, Facebook, and Twitter sites this week.

Read more:

Last Marines land, prepare to begin field training at African Lion 2012

African Lion 12 ready to roar: Marine Forces Africa conducts final planning conference

All about Naval Forces Africa and Marine Forces Africa

Tanzanian and U.S. personnel conduct medical training as part of Africa Partnership Station 2012 (Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony R. Martinez/U.S. Navy)

This is our last in a series of posts this week about some of AFRICOM’s component commands. Component commands are the building blocks of a joint command like AFRICOM, which draws from all services and military specialties. Previously this week, we introduced you to U.S. Army Africa (USARAF)U.S. Air Forces Africa and Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. Our other component command is Special Operations Command Africa. Today we introduce you to U.S. Naval Forces Africa and U.S. Marine Forces Africa.

Location: Naval Forces Africa is part of Naval Forces Europe and the  U.S. Sixth Fleet located in Naples, Italy. Marine Forces Africa is located at Panzer Kaserne in Stuttgart, Germany.

Staff:  Since NAVAF is part of  U.S. Naval Forces Europe/6th Fleet, there are no firm numbers for  personnel that work specifically with AFRICOM. The Naval Forces Europe headquarters includes about 620 personnel. Marine Forces Africa includes approximately 400 people.

Leadership: NAVAF falls under Admiral Bruce W. Clingan, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe/6th Fleet. The MARFOREUR commander is Lt. Gen. John M. Paxton, Jr.

AOR: The NAVEUR/NAVAF area of responsibility covers more than 20 million nautical miles of ocean and includes Russsia, Europe and most of Africa. MARFORAF operates on and around the continent of Africa.

African partnerships: NAVEUR/NAVAF conducts Africa Partnership Station, which involves ship visits and training across Africa. Marine Forces Africa will embark next week on Africa Lion in Morocco, the largest bilateral training exercise on the continent.

Interested in learning more?  Visit the NAVEUR/NAVAF home page here, or the MARFORAF page here .

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