KAMPALA, Uganda – U.S. Marines and Sailors with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa 19.2, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, advise in reconnaissance skills, engineering, and logistics courses with members of the Uganda People’s Defence Force at the Uganda Rapid Deployment Capability Center in Jinja and Peace Support Operations Training Center in Singo Uganda, June 13, 2019.
The SPMAGTF-CR-AF’s Ground Combat Element have been working with the UPDF at PSO-TC Singo for four weeks to become reconnaissance skills instructors at the end of a 3-month training cycle. The intent of this training is to increase the Ugandan forces ability to train reconnaissance forces to better serve in regional peacekeeping and protect their country.
“Over the course of the past couple of weeks we have taken the crawl, walk run approach with the Ugandans,” said U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Wade, a team leader with SPMAGTF-CR-AF 19.2, MFEA. “We started training alongside the UPDF members by covering weapons handling and safety rules, land navigation, and reaction of enemy contact, to lead us to the main focus of this iteration which is patrolling tactics.”
In return of the tactics training given by the U.S. Marines, the Ugandans have been able to exchange knowledge on their weapons systems, as well as their language and similarities in conducting formations and fearlessness of maneuvering around wild bulls on patrols throughout the training areas.
In the upcoming weeks, training will consist of how to counter improvised explosive devices and improving patrolling and reporting information over radios. This training will increase the Ugandan soldier’s confidence and capabilities in relaying information and avoiding any potential IED threats while on reconnaissance patrols.
“The Ugandans receive input really well, they work and are eager to train,” said Wade. “It makes the learning process a lot easier and I have enjoyed working with them.”
While reconnaissance skills training continues in Singo, U.S. Marine engineers further the UPDF’s knowledge at the URDCC in Jinja on civil engineering and heavy equipment to improve the UPDF’s ability to rapidly respond to a variety of crises, build lasting relationships, and exchange valuable knowledge on operational sustainment in a field environment.
“For the past couple of weeks we have been advising the UPDF in bettering their engineering and logistic capabilities by starting with classroom knowledge on the capabilities and characteristics of the heavy equipment machines,” said U.S. Marine Cpl. John Capwell, heavy equipment section head. “During the upcoming weeks, students will be conducting practical application on the machines. Once they have mastered those technical skills, training will move into starting projects around the base, such as fixing roads and leveling hills to construct buildings.”
After the training iteration is completed, the Ugandan students will be able to use this knowledge as training cadre within the Uganda Rapid Deployment Capability Center to instruct future UPDF task forces responding to political crisis and other regional challenges. As an ancillary benefit, soldiers will be able to apply their knowledge to help build and improve roads and infrastructures throughout their country.
“Knowing they are happy to come to work, it makes our day so much easier,” said Capwell. “They love to learn and ask questions which is great, that’s all that we are looking for. It doesn’t matter where they started out, their baseline could be little to no knowledge on the subject, but each day they improve. If they keep doing that through their careers they will be able to help a lot of people and immensely support their country.”