U.S. Marines, Coast Guardsmen and Senegalese Compagnie Fusilier de Marin Commando completed a monthlong security cooperation exercise in Dakar, Sept. 17.
U.S. service members with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa trained with Senegalese forces focusing on infantry tactics and small boat operations. This is the final “train-the-trainer” iteration of the maritime security force assistance mission in Senegal.
The sea-to-land tactics exchanged over the four weeks of training are essential to the Senegalese commandos maintaining stability in the region.
“Most of our missions are very much like the training we’ve done,” said Senegal 1st Lt. Goumalo Sall, a company commander with the commando unit. “Most of the time they are patrolling in the south Casamance region or throughout the river.”
The unit’s leaders received training on the Marine Corps planning process to expand upon the French military system for planning that they’re familiar with. Although many of the commandos are experienced, the Marines still brought a lot to the table and helped to refine skills such as field craft and tactical site exploitation on land and formations and communication on small boats.
They conducted their final exercise, a beach raid, encompassing all the skills covered over the four weeks the Marines and Coast Guardsmen were in the country. After hitting the beach by boat, the commandos conducted reconnaissance and ambushed an enemy position before extracting via boats in another location.
“They were quick, discrete and aggressive,” Sall said. “At the end, they executed their mission just as we expected.”
The performance and improvement throughout the training is what makes the partnership with the Marines is so important, added Sall, who has worked with U.S. Marine Corps security cooperation teams since 2012.
“The work they did everyday went beyond our expectations,” said Sall. “That’s why we need the training with the Marines.”