NAVAL AIR STATION SIGONELLA, Italy -- More than 40 Ghanaian infantrymen traditionally participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations. These operations require the Ghanaian service members to be proficient in infantry skills—something the U.S. Marines know well.
A team of approximately 15 U.S. Marines and sailors assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa trained with the Ghana Army near Accra, Ghana, from June 15-July 10, 2015.
Focusing on light infantry skills, the Marines worked with their Ghanaian partners to refine the force’s capacity to provide security to a larger area with challenging terrain. The training will also help expand the host force’s ability to operate from established border outposts.
“Our mission is to train with a unit comprised of Ghanaian Army infantry and military police soldiers to improve the Army’s capability to assist in securing the country’s borders,” said 1st Lt. Nathanial Kaine, the team’s officer-in-charge. “We’re hoping to help refine their current practices and instill in the trainees the Marine Corps’ concept of ‘brilliance in the basics.”
The training engagement emphasized fundamental infantry skills as a way for the Marines and Ghanaians to establish a working relationship. The skills focused around patrolling, and included land navigation and combat medical care instruction.
“There are many similarities between our training and the Ghanaian Army. Our instruction compliments theirs and gives them additional tools to use,” said Staff Sgt. Fredrick Volz, the security cooperation team’s senior enlisted leader. “While their tactics for fire and movement are very similar to ours, they are not mirrored. Some of the considerations we use have been received very well and seems to be modifying their own tactics.”
The sharing of experience with infantry training benefited the Marines and sailors as much as the Ghanaian soldiers. The respect shared by both parties led to tighter bonds professionally and personally.
“During our time operating with our Ghanaian comrades, we learned from each other covering our different tactics and ways of operating as infantrymen,” said Seaman Richard Lucero, a hospital corpsman with SPMAGTF-CR-AF. “After understanding the different traditions and history of [the Ghanaians’] training and their personal ways of maintaining discipline; I realize we are much alike and we have mutual respect for each other and our goals of ensuring a strong, lasting relationship.”