Ugandan soldiers complete U.S. Marine training


Uganda People’s Defense Force soldiers graduated from their two-month long training course with U.S. Marines and sailors at Camp Singo, Dec. 18.

The final week of the course tested and evaluated the UPDF soldiers on skills covered during the training period. This gave them the opportunity to display their proficiency and boost the confidence needed to bring these skills back to their units and eventually to forward-deployed environments.

The security cooperation team with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa arrived in Uganda in October to work with the UPDF to increase their logistics and engineering capabilities as they continue their presence in the African Union Mission in Somalia.

Eight different military occupational specialties were covered to include: civil engineering, heavy equipment operations, Mine-Resistant, Ambushed-Protected vehicle driving and maintenance, utilities, demolitions and medical care.

“This specific training was requested by the UPDF because at the moment it lacks well-trained personnel to handle things like heavy equipment or the operation and maintenance of MRAPs as they are recently introduced vehicles to us for the Somalia mission,” said Lt. Titus Ekain, a liaison officer with the UPDF. “The training is intended to build capacity in future training and develop skilled personnel to handle mission operations in Somalia.”

The UPDF sent their latest rotation of troops to Somalia in November. The enduring exchange of training between the U.S. and Ugandan militaries helps ensure the next rotation of soldiers will always be prepared for the next mission.

“This training helps in averting unnecessary enemy attacks on our convoys, because drivers and their commanders can detect them before they explode,” said Ekain. “The use of IEDs was the most common attack Al-Shabbab used, but now we have learned how to react toward it.”

All students learned basic IED awareness and life-saving skills to build a common level of knowledge. After those basic skills, each occupation split into their specialty training with their respective Marine or sailor counterparts.

“The sharing of experiences between the UPDF operations in Somalia and the Marines experience in their various operations has created mutual trust between the two countries, which to me, is tremendous,” said Ekain. “The sharing of the tactics improves our performance not only in Somalia, but for our future security within and around our borders. It’s my wish that the same kind of training continues as it strengthens the relationship between the two nations.”

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