Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa 19.2, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, rehearsed operations to establish and operate from a cooperative security location in Dakar, Senegal, July 28- Aug. 10, 2019.
Once the CSL was established by the forward logistics element, the air, ground, logistics, and command elements arrived in Dakar and began mission-planning within a complex scenario. The scenario required the U.S. Marines, Sailors, and Airman to exercise quick reaction force and U.S. embassy reinforcement procedures. In addition, the ground combat element participated in bilateral training with the Senegalese Armed Forces to increase proficiency and interoperability while the logistics combat element established a Forward Resuscitative Surgical System within the CSL.
During the training, the FRSS played a vital role as a mobile operating room containing role 2 medical capabilities to treat trauma patients. The system and its 13 team members, which ranged from surgeons to laboratory technicians, provided the ability to conduct forward damage control resuscitation and damage control surgery. Throughout the duration of the training evolution, the FRSS team had the opportunity to validate their capabilities and rehearse the set-up of the facility in a dissimilar environment.
“The FRSS is important because it brings life-saving treatment closer to wherever the battle may be,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Sebby, an emergency medicine physician and officer in charge of the FRSS. “This allows us to bring the operating room closer to the patient and potentially save lives from preventable causes of death.”
The Ground Combat Element participated in a bilateral field training exercise with members of the Senegalese Armed Forces Aug. 2-4. Marines and Senegalese soldiers rehearsed basic marksmanship skills, static shooting, and machine gun ranges during the three-day exercise. In addition, Marine Scout Snipers exchanged tactics with the Senegalese snipers to increase their lethality as a force.
“We conducted this training because we have a good rapport with the Senegalese as a whole and we are trying to build a stronger bond with them, exchange procedures, and improve our overall relationship with them,” said U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Zachary Taylor, a platoon commander with SPMAGTF-CR-AF 19.2.
SPMAGTF-CR-AF 19.2 conducted a QRF rehearsal Aug. 5 which saw Marines respond to an evolving scenario against a simulated enemy, with assault support from the aviation combat element.
“Anytime Marines get the chance to get out and train, they are going to get better at what they do,” said U.S. Marine Maj. Joseph Hardin, an operations officer with SPMAGTF-CR-AF 19.2. “Getting away from where our logistics are set up and our communications are stable, it adds a new dynamic to the training we conduct.”
The culminating event occurred Aug. 6-7 when SPMAGTF-CR-AF rehearsed an embassy reinforcement at the U.S. Embassy in Bamako, Mali. The Marines inserted into the embassy Aug. 6, received a scenario update from the Marine security guard detachment, and provided additional security around the embassy. The Marines responded to a notional-complex enemy attack on the U.S. Embassy Aug. 7 and rehearsed securing the embassy compound, safeguarding personnel, and treating simulated casualties.
“The Marines did an excellent job and really knocked it out of the park,” said U.S. Marine Col. Eric Cloutier, the commanding officer of SPMAGTF-CR-AF 19.2. “I am proud of each and every one of the Marines and everyone came down here intent on mission accomplishment. Everything was done with a potential that this could be done for real at any time. So, hats off to everyone who made this possible.”