Southern African Development Community (SADC) and United States Special Forces are exercising in the Langebaan area in the Western Cape Province. The military, in a statement, says the aim of Exercise Stalwart is to exercise the participants’ seaborne and airborne conventional capabilities at the tactical level in a multinational full mission profile Special Forces deployment.
Stalwart commenced yesterday and winds up September 29. Participating SADC nations include
Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Zambia. “Exercise Stalwart will be a joint multinational integrated exercise where the scenario will require of Special Forces from SADC countries to react to several emergencies of a strategic nature. The activities planned during the exercise will include a rehearsals phase i.e. a command post exercise and integration training of forces in Dwarskersbos, followed by an execution phase i.e. a field training exercise in the Langebaan to Elands Bay areas.
“Exercise Stalwart has been scheduled to exercise, practice and evaluate interoperability as well as command and control between own forces in collaboration with the SA Navy and SA Air Force as well as between the various Special Forces elements of SADC and Allied Forces at tactical and multinational headquarters levels.”
Stalwart, which is closed to the public, follows hot on the heels of Exercise Shared Accord, the largest joint US-SA exercise in recent years. Some 600 US service members, composed mainly of US Marine Corps Reservists, along with more than 1100 SANDF troops, took part in Shared Accord. The exercise included military training, a Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP), a Veterinarian Civic Action Program (VETCAP), a live-fire exercise and a construction project.
Speaking at a change-of-command parade for the US Special Operations Command earlir this month, incoming US Special Forces Chief, Navy SEAL and Admiral William McRaven noted Spcial Forces will become more important worldwide in the years ahead. Special Forces form a community of “self-starters, deep thinkers, imagineers, problem solvers, aggressive leaders and teammates to whom they can and often do trust with their lives,” Olson said.
Special Forces are a small part of the overall military, but they have become essential. “Their proven abilities to arrive unexpectedly, to kill those who plan to do us harm, to take precise action when required, to inspire their counterparts, all combine to make them a force in high demand,” Olson said.
“They punch above their weight, and they absorb blows with abnormal toughness and stamina,” he said. “Our nation deserves and expects to have such a force that operates without much drama or fanfare, and whose greatest heroes are among the least acknowledged. This force is it. The yin and the yang – hunting enemies and bringing value to the people and places we go, are in close harmony.”