Members of the 24th MEU train troops heading to Somalia


First Lt. Herman Davis helps members of the Uganda People’s Defense Force inspect their weapons during a training exercise there. Davis is serving as the team leader of a group from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit training the foreign troops through September.

Marines training a foreign military are learning skills about fighting in a place they haven’t had much exposure to in the last decade — the jungle.

A small team with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit was sent on a unique mission. Eleven Marines left the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group to meet up with a team from Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force in Uganda, according to a Marine Corps news release.

The Ugandan troops they are training are preparing for a deployment to Somalia, a failed state that has lacked a central government for more than two decades. Marines with the 24th MEU and the SPMAGTF are teaching them about urban warfare, and in turn, they’re coming away with skills about fighting in the jungle.

“U.S. forces have been employed mostly in desert environments in recent years,” said Cpl. Matteo Marshall, a machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines. “Our current generation of troops lacks knowledge and training when it comes to jungle warfare.”

The SPMAGTF regularly conducts training missions with African troops. And the members of the 24th MEU have conducted many training missions with foreign militaries including Moroccan, Spanish, Jordanian and Lebanese forces since deploying in March. This particular mission in Uganda will help the soldiers there perfect their skills in markmanship, small unit tactics and engineering, according to the release.

Unlike the Marines, the Ugandan troops are used to fighting in the jungle — but urban warfare is still pretty new to them. Pvt. Kenneth Edep, a combat engineer with the Ugandan forces, said the skills they are learning from Marines will save lives.

“The training that we are receiving is giving us experience for when we are going in for an attack in an urban environment,” Edep said. “This type of training is something that our enemies may not have and it will help us defeat them.”

The Ugandans are deploying in support of the African Union Mission in Somalia, a peace support operation with the intent to stabilize the security situation there. The mission goal is to create a safe and secure environment in preparation for the transition to the United Nations.


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