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U.S., Senegal conclude security cooperation training

US Marine Corps News

By Cpl. Olivia McDonald | September 28, 2015

U.S. Marines, Coast Guardsmen and Senegalese Compagnie Fusilier de Marin Commando completed a month-long security cooperation exercise together in Dakar, Senegal, Sept. 17, 2015.

U.S. service members with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa trained with Senegalese forces focusing on infantry tactics and small-boat operations. This is the final "train-the-trainer" iteration of the Maritime Security Force Assistance mission in Senegal.

The sea-to-land skills exchanged over the four weeks of training are essential to the COFUMACO maintaining stability in the region.

"Most of our missions are very much like the training we've done, said 1st Lt. Goumalo Sall, a company commander with the COFUMACO. "Most of the time they are patrolling in the south Casamance region or throughout the river."

COFUMACO leaders received training on the Marine Corps planning process to expand upon the French military system for planning that they're familiar with. Although many of the commandos are experienced, the Marines still brought a lot to the table and helped to refine skills such as field craft and tactical site exploitation on land and formations and communication on small-boats.

They conducted their final exercise, a beach raid, encompassing all the skills covered over the four weeks the Marines and Coast Guardsmen were in country. After hitting the beach by boat, the commandos conducted reconnaissance and ambushed an enemy position before extracting via boats in another location.

"They were quick, discrete and aggressive," said Sall. "At the end, they executed their mission just as we expected."

The performance and improvement throughout the training is what makes the partnership with the Marines is so important, according to Sall who has worked with U.S. Marine Corps security cooperation teams since 2012.

"The work they did everyday went beyond our expectations," said Sall. "That's why we need the training with the Marines."

With training complete and a successful culminating exercise, COFUMACO has reinforced the skills and confidence in their abilities to return to their mission in the south and promote stability in their country.

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