French soldiers teach U.S. military desert survival tactics

A U.S. Marine swims underneath a ladder during the French Desert Survival Course’s water obstacle course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. In addition to learning survival tactics, two U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, teamed up to complete a series obstacles during the 14-day course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image A U.S. Marine swims underneath a ladder during the French Desert Survival Course’s water obstacle course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. In addition to learning survival tactics, two U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, teamed up to complete a series obstacles during the 14-day course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes)
A U.S. Marine travels across a suspended cable during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. In addition to learning survival tactics, U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, complete the “Path of the Unconscious,” a ropes course carved out of an approximately 300 foot high cliff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image A U.S. Marine travels across a suspended cable during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. In addition to learning survival tactics, U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, complete the “Path of the Unconscious,” a ropes course carved out of an approximately 300 foot high cliff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes)
Service members climb a water obstacle course during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015.  U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, worked together to learn combat lifesaving skills, field tactics, land navigation, weapons training, trap setting, survival cooking and water source locating during the 14-day course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image Service members climb a water obstacle course during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, worked together to learn combat lifesaving skills, field tactics, land navigation, weapons training, trap setting, survival cooking and water source locating during the 14-day course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes)
A French Army soldier jumps off a water obstacle course during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. In addition to learning survival tactics, two U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, teamed up to complete a series of obstacles to earn the French’s desert commando badge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image A French Army soldier jumps off a water obstacle course during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. In addition to learning survival tactics, two U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, teamed up to complete a series of obstacles to earn the French’s desert commando badge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes)
U.S. and French service members assist each other over water obstacles during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. French and U.S. military members worked together to learn combat lifesaving skills, field tactics, land navigation, weapons training, trap setting, and survival cooking and water source locating during the 14-day course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image U.S. and French service members assist each other over water obstacles during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. French and U.S. military members worked together to learn combat lifesaving skills, field tactics, land navigation, weapons training, trap setting, and survival cooking and water source locating during the 14-day course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes)
A U.S. Marine, assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, jumps down platforms for a rope’s course during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, complete the “Path of the Unconscious,” a ropes course carved out of an approximately 300 foot high cliff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image A U.S. Marine, assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, jumps down platforms for a rope’s course during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, complete the “Path of the Unconscious,” a ropes course carved out of an approximately 300 foot high cliff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes)
U.S. and French service members swim towards shore to complete the water obstacles course during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. In addition to survival tactics, service members teamed up to complete a water obstacle course and the “Path of the Unconscious,” a ropes course carved out of an approximately 300 foot high cliff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image U.S. and French service members swim towards shore to complete the water obstacles course during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. In addition to survival tactics, service members teamed up to complete a water obstacle course and the “Path of the Unconscious,” a ropes course carved out of an approximately 300 foot high cliff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes)
U.S. and French military members watch service members traverse, repel and climb a rope’s course during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. Two U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, learned to fight, survive and navigate Djibouti’s desert during the 14-day course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image U.S. and French military members watch service members traverse, repel and climb a rope’s course during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. Two U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, learned to fight, survive and navigate Djibouti’s desert during the 14-day course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes)
A U.S. Marine watches service members traverse, repel and climb a rope’s course during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, learned to fight, survive and navigate Djibouti’s desert, earning the French’s desert commando badge.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image A U.S. Marine watches service members traverse, repel and climb a rope’s course during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, learned to fight, survive and navigate Djibouti’s desert, earning the French’s desert commando badge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes)
French soldiers assist one another over water obstacles during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. French and U.S. military members teamed up during the 14-day course to learn combat lifesaving skills, field tactics, land navigation, weapons training, trap setting, survival cooking and water source location. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image French soldiers assist one another over water obstacles during the French Desert Survival Course, near Arta Beach, Djibouti, Sept. 30, 2015. French and U.S. military members teamed up during the 14-day course to learn combat lifesaving skills, field tactics, land navigation, weapons training, trap setting, survival cooking and water source location. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nesha Humes)

Two U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion soldiers, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, French Army soldiers from the 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment, and members of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, endured fourteen days in the heat, learning to fight, survive and navigate Djibouti’s desert.

The French’s course is designed to prepare soldiers to survive in desert climate by teaching participants combat lifesaving skills, field tactics, land navigation, weapons training, trap setting, survival cooking and water source locating.

The U.S. Army is currently launching a similar course in Texas and intends to send some of the future instructors through the French’s desert survival school for training.

“I’ve learned a lot of really cool ways to survive,” U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan Kirkwood, 415th CA Bn medical cell NCO in charge said; “how to filter sea water, collect water, how to light a fire with things you wouldn’t even think of, such as cell phones. It’s pretty interesting.”

Participants learned how to acquire food from various sources as part of their survival lessons.

“This course is important, [even though] we’re very tired after this phase; we are ready to conduct a big operation,” French Capt. Louis, Armor Company commander said. “It’s very good, because you’re immediately ready to deploy.  All the instructions are based on what has happened in previous operations; these are skills that you use in operations.”

In addition to survival tactics, the weathered service members broke into four platoons, working together to complete a water obstacle course and the “Path of the Unconscious,” a ropes course, carved out of an approximately 300 foot high cliff.

By completing the French Desert Survival Course, service members earned the desert commando badge as a merit to their endeavors.

“This is the first time at my company’s level we’ve worked with the Americans to improve our interoperability,” Louis said. “The experience has been awesome.”

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