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Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Africa (SPMAGTF Africa)
Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 12 (SPMAGTF-12)

Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 12 (SPMAGTF-12) is tasked with sending small training groups into Africa to partner with local militaries in an effort to indirectly blunt the spread of extremist groups across the continent. Many of the Task Force's missions are based around the doctrine of "low footprint, high payoff," sending as few team members as possible to do the most with the least amount of manpower and supplies. The Task Force's mission as an on call security and logistics cooperation platform was largely unique in the Corps and among the first of its kind. The success of the Marine Corps' Black Sea Rotational Force, a similar rotational security cooperation SPMAGTF in Europe, had provided the impetus for establishing SPMAGTF-12.

Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 12, initially known as Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 2012, was formed over the summer of 2011 from more than 40 Marine Forces Reserve units scattered across the US. Originally consisting of 130 personnel, the unit increased in size to 180 individuals by the time the first rotation, SPMAGTF-12.1 deployed to the region in early 2012. The unit was forward deployed to NAS Sigonella in Italy on the island of Sicily. The first rotation, made up primarily of Marines from the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, was also authorized 2 KC-130 aircraft to help shuttled detachments between various African countries. The unit grew to include Marines from a vast array of occupational fields including combat engineers, motor transport, communications and supply specialists.

By March 2012, SPMAGTF-12 had sent small teams into 5 African nations, including some threatened by a North African franchise of Al Qaeda attempting to spread its influence known as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). In the Horn of Africa, Marines from the Task Force helped prepare troops for the on going African union peace keeping mission in Somalia. The first rotation also deployed elements to Liberia and Uganda to help with security force assistance missions in both of those countries.

The Marines and sailors of the first SPMAGTF-12 rortation for home from their forward base in Italy on 31 March 2012 after completing a 6 month deployment in support of US Africa Command (AFRICOM). The were replaced by the second rotation, SPMAGTF-12.2, which intended to deploy 4 Theater Security Cooperation Teams into the continent within weeks of their deployment to conduct training with partner nations. SPMAGTF-12.2 was also referred to as SPMAGTF Africa for public affairs purposes.

In December 2013, Marines with SPMAGTF-Africa provides logistics support for Operation Echo Casemate in Burundi. The operation involve the airlifting of a Burundian infantry battalion to Central African Republic in support of peacekeeping efforts there. SPMAGTF-Africa Marines had already been in the country training Burundian Army logistics elements for planned deployments so support the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).




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