US advisors train with Nigerien forces


United States airmen assigned to the 768th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron instructed Forces Armées Nigeriennes (Nigerien Armed Forces) personnel during a week-long Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Awareness Course in Niger between 7 and 11 October.

Expanding on the US Armed Forces/FAN partnership, members of the 768th EABS Explosive Ordnance Disposal team assisted by 768th EABS Security Forces Air Advisors trained FAN Genie Unit members during the course, which is part of a curriculum spanning several months.

“I take a lot of pride in seeing how far they’ve come from when we first showed up here just three months ago,” said Senior Airman Caleb Love, 786th EABS EOD team member. “A lot of the [FAN] soldiers out here only receive some initial training when they join the military and receive no additional training for the rest of their career. If it wasn’t for these courses, they wouldn’t receive any training before they deploy.”

This overall joint knowledge exchange curriculum is designed to improve the FAN’s effectiveness and survivability once they deploy to combat the violent extremist organizations in West Africa, Africa Command said.

While the 768th EABS EOD Team leads the charge for this programme, the Security Forces Air Advisors help ensure the joint knowledge exchange is executed properly and lend their expertise in security tactics by teaching classes related to those skills.

“I couldn’t ask for a better experience,” said Senior Airman Brandon Cummings, 786th EABS Security Forces Air Advisor. “The individuals that we are training are very friendly and receptive to the information that we are teaching them. It’s just an awesome experience to work with our host nation counterparts like this.”

During the week of training, the Airmen taught FAN personnel valuable skills for the deployed environment such as how to locate and react to an IED, how to set up a cordon and procedures to clear the area. Also on the syllabus were movement tactics, reacting to contact and how to work in and out of a vehicle.

“This week we learned something new, and we refreshed our knowledge,” said FAN 2nd Lt. Amadou Belloh Abdoulaye, Genie Unit combat engineer. “The situation of our country is very difficult and complex. So this training is very important. [It] is always welcome.”

The next block of joint training will begin in a couple of weeks, expanding on the trainees’ knowledge and the bond that is forged between two allies striving for a common goal.