APS Marines engage with Beninese soldiers
By Sgt. Marco Mancha
| Marine Corps Forces Africa | October 28, 2013
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.