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U.S., Senegalese army officials plan training
Maj. Michael Gacheru, U.S. Army Africa, and Capt. Michael Kearnes, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, are briefed at the Senegalese training facility where the African Readiness Training 2016 exercise will take place. - photo by Capt. Anielka DiFelice/U.S. Army Africa

DAKAR, Senegal — Planners from U.S. Army Africa, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment and the Senegalese army met Jan. 12-14 to conduct the initial planning event for the African Readiness Training 2016.

The training is currently scheduled to take place in Senegal in July and will include soldiers from the U.S. and Senegalese armies.

ART16, a combined multilateral training exercise, focuses on enhancing the capacity of African partners while achieving U.S. Army readiness, crisis-response proficiency and joint interoperability with partner nations. This is the first exercise of this type to be executed on the continent where U.S. Army, Marine and Senegalese forces will train together in an African training location as part of the readiness effort.

“We are thankful for the partnership and cooperation we have with the United States and for all the military training they have provided and continue to provide to the Senegalese army,” said Col. Insa Sagna, Senegalese army deputy chief of staff, during the planning session at the Senegalese Army Headquarters.

“This relationship and partnership between the U.S. and Senegal is appreciated, especially during these days,” Sagna said.
Maj. Michael Gacheru, U.S. Army Africa ART16’s lead planner, thanked the Senegalese for making this event possible.

“Readiness of our forces is our No. 1 priority. With all the threats that we face, we can’t do this alone. We need the help of our partners,” he said.  

“This is going to be good. We are going to learn, and you are going to learn,” said Col. Saifoulaye Sow, Senegalese army chief of operations and lead planner.

U.S. and Senegalese planners worked together as a combined staff to shape the desire outcomes of the exercise.  Additionally, the team had the opportunity to tour the Senegalese training facilities.

Planning for this event started in May with follow-on events in the U.S., Senegal and Germany. The concept of this training was validated in Spain during the African Readiness Training 2015 with the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force and the Spanish Legion.

ART16 is supported by the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, which is part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division on Fort Stewart, the regionally allocated force supporting U.S. Army Africa operations.

“The U.S. can’t be everywhere, and this partnership means that we become stronger by mutually sharing our knowledge and experiences,” Gacheru said.

Building strong partnerships with African nations is part of the African Horizons strategy and the U.S. Army’s resolve to build a global land force network to combat shared threats and challenges.

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