SELOUS GAMES RESERVE, Tanzania - -- Approximately 15 U.S. Marines and Sailors assigned to Theater Security Cooperation Team-Six, Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa conducted small unit tactics training with more than 40 Tanzanian park rangers at the Selous Game Reserve in Matambwe, Tanzania, March 2-3.
The Marines and Sailors began the training evolution with two days of weapons handling procedures and combat marksmanship training, followed by the basic weapons skills they use for their American M4 and M16 assault rifles and then demonstrated those techniques on the park rangers’ rifles.
“Weapons handling is a fundamental piece of everything that both we and the Rangers do,” said 1st Lt. Nathanial Kaine, the officer in charge of the team. “This review allows us to have a common foundation on which to build the rest of our training.”
The Tanzanians broke into smaller groups and worked with the Marines and Sailors on other more in-depth skills that will enhance their counter-illicit trafficking capabilities.
“We are very interested in each other, both operationally and culturally,” said Lance Cpl. Jeremy Cuthrell, the primary instructor for the weapons handling and combat marksmanship classes. “They seem to grasp everything perfectly and quickly.”
The Marines and sailors of SCT-6 will continue working side by side with the Tanzanian park rangers through courses on patrolling, offensive tactics, land navigation and mounted operations to aid the rangers’ battle against illicit trafficking.
“The stronger our relationships are, the better we will be able to convey information, and it will be more likely for the park rangers to emulate the Marines and their conduct," noted Kaine. "The second, real benefit is building lasting relationships."
“I think the beginning of our training set a very positive tone," said Kaine. "It was interesting seeing the two groups getting to know each other while becoming friends.”