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Marine Corps Forces Africa

U.S. Africa Command

USAG Stuttgart, Germany
APS Marines engage with Beninese soldiers

By Sgt. Marco Mancha | Marine Corps Forces Africa | October 28, 2013

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Staff Sgt. Michael McConnell of White River Junction, Vt., teaches a counter move during a martial arts class October 10, 2013.  Dozens of U.S. troops met with Benin Armed Forces to work on different tactical procedures in order to build on their maritime security capabilities. The group of Marines focused on different types of patrolling procedures, hand-to-hand combat techniques, and other combative skills.

Staff Sgt. Michael McConnell of White River Junction, Vt., teaches a counter move during a martial arts class October 10, 2013. Dozens of U.S. troops met with Benin Armed Forces to work on different tactical procedures in order to build on their maritime security capabilities. The group of Marines focused on different types of patrolling procedures, hand-to-hand combat techniques, and other combative skills. (Photo by Sgt. Marco Mancha)


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Marine Corps Martial Arts instructors with Africa Partnership Station 13 demonstrate a pistol counter technique during a martial arts class October 10, 2013.  Dozens of U.S. troops met with Benin Armed Forces to work on different tactical procedures in order to build on their maritime security capabilities. Each engagement allowed the international forces to build friendly bonds throughout the exercises.

Marine Corps Martial Arts instructors with Africa Partnership Station 13 demonstrate a pistol counter technique during a martial arts class October 10, 2013. Dozens of U.S. troops met with Benin Armed Forces to work on different tactical procedures in order to build on their maritime security capabilities. Each engagement allowed the international forces to build friendly bonds throughout the exercises. (Photo by Sgt. Marco Mancha)


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Major Kyle Andrews presents a certificate of completion to a Beninese soldier October 10, 2013.  Dozens of U.S. troops met with Benin Armed Forces to work on different tactical procedures in order to build on their maritime security capabilities. The Marines left Benin with a positive mentality knowing they accomplished their mission, and strengthened ties between the two countries.

Major Kyle Andrews presents a certificate of completion to a Beninese soldier October 10, 2013. Dozens of U.S. troops met with Benin Armed Forces to work on different tactical procedures in order to build on their maritime security capabilities. The Marines left Benin with a positive mentality knowing they accomplished their mission, and strengthened ties between the two countries. (Photo by Sgt. Marco Mancha)


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Benin soldiers practice bounding during a fire team management class October 9, 2013.  Dozens of U.S. troops met with Benin Armed Forces to work on different tactical procedures in order to build on their maritime security capabilities. The group of Marines focused on different types of patrolling procedures, hand-to-hand combat techniques, and other combative skills.

Benin soldiers practice bounding during a fire team management class October 9, 2013. Dozens of U.S. troops met with Benin Armed Forces to work on different tactical procedures in order to build on their maritime security capabilities. The group of Marines focused on different types of patrolling procedures, hand-to-hand combat techniques, and other combative skills. (Photo by Sgt. Marco Mancha)


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A Benin soldier sights in during a weapons handling class October 9, 2013.  Dozens of U.S. troops met with Benin Armed Forces to work on different tactical procedures in order to build on their maritime security capabilities.

A Benin soldier sights in during a weapons handling class October 9, 2013. Dozens of U.S. troops met with Benin Armed Forces to work on different tactical procedures in order to build on their maritime security capabilities. (Photo by Sgt. Marco Mancha)


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COTONOU, Benin --

United States Marines and sailors with Africa Partnership Station 13 continued their tour down the Western coast of Africa October 8, 2013. 
            
Dozens of troops met with Benin Armed Forces to work on different tactical procedures in order to build on their maritime security capabilities.
            
The group of Marines focused on different types of patrolling procedures, hand-to-hand combat techniques, and other combative skills.  Each engagement allowed the international forces to build friendly bonds throughout the exercises.
            
“The Benin soldiers learned very fast,” said Lyons, Neb., native, Lance Cpl. Derek Burt.  “We taught them tactical weapons handling, and despite the language barrier, the training went very smooth.”
            
Africa Partnership Station 13, a unit focused on promoting maritime security and cooperation, are no strangers to working with African military forces.  The security cooperation task force recently worked with other countries such as Senegal, and Ghana, with the same mission as in Benin.
            
Every engagement, however, was unique in its own way.  This exercise allowed the Marines to work with the native forces more intimately because of the small number of soldiers who participated.
            
“This experience is one, I think, me or any of my fellow soldiers will never forget,” said MT2 Rachidi Ahouandjanou.  “The training allowed us to see what other highly-skilled military forces can do, and they were very helpful in teaching us their procedures.”
            
The training focused on more than techniques and built on strong relationships with each other.  The U.S. was able to make their friendly ties apparent when they presented the Benin forces with a certificate of completion after successfully completing every exercise of the training.
            
The Marines left Benin with a positive mentality knowing they accomplished their mission, and strengthened ties between the two countries.



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