Marines of the Security Cooperation Marine Air Ground Task Force, Africa Partnership Station 10, came ashore at Guerero Beach, Senegal, to begin military-to-military familiarization events with their partner nation.
Less than an hour after their amphibious landing, the Marines were joined by members of the Senegalese Armed Forces as they performed their own beach landing, ferrying both personnel and vehicles ashore in a landing craft unit.
Both services experienced a few setbacks with vehicles that got bogged down in the granulated sands, but with some experienced drivers behind the wheel and many hands to help push, they soon cleared the beaches.
For some Marines, this was their first experience participating in an amphibious landing.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” said Corporal Kimberly Yankovich. “You literally have everything you need to perform your mission when you step off that LCU.”
The Marines wasted no time in getting established at the training camp and starting military-to-military familiarization events the following day. The afternoon was filled with classes on Marine Corps martial arts and weapons handling.
“They love the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program,” said Staff Sergeant Bernard Cooks, a platoon commander with the SCMAGTF. “We’ll be getting into more of the hands-on classes next week, but so far they have been very enthusiastic.
Approximately 77 SAF personnel will be participating in the events with the SCMAGTF throughout the course of the next three weeks.
“It’s much different working with the Senegalese,” said Cooks. “In Ghana, we were working with many different military occupational specialties. Here we’re working with all infantry platoons, and the mission focus is similar to our’s.”
The SCMAGTF is simultaneously completing military-to-military familiarization events in Liberia, with more than 40 Marines and sailors arriving in country, April 3. The familiarization events are part of the SCMAGTF’s mission to improve military interoperability and strengthen relations with partner nations in Africa.
During their time in Liberia, Marines will team up with approximately 650 members of the Liberian Armed Forces to give classes on land navigation, combat life saving, Marine Corps martial arts, and communications.
The Marines brought their first week of training to a close by conducting a physical training session, comprised of a run to an inter coastal waterway, some martial arts practical application, and a beach run along the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean located a short distance from the Marine’s barracks.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Lance Corporal Mike Fossum, a crewman with the Assault Amphibian Vehicle platoon, SCMAGTF. “It’s been quite an experience to see this part of the world.”