Ugandan Soldiers Graduate from Counterterrorism Course

FOLKASENYI, Uganda - U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Mullin, II, Combined Joint Task Forces - Horn of Africa, marches with soldiers from the Uganda People's Defence Force for a graduation ceremony in Folkasenyi, Uganda May 16, 2008.  The Ugandan service members successfully completed a 16-week counterterrorism course where they practiced basic infantry skills and counterterrorism techniques. (Photo by Technical Sergeant Kati Garcia, U.S. Air Force) CJTF-HOA Photo FOLKASENYI, Uganda - U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Mullin, II, Combined Joint Task Forces - Horn of Africa, marches with soldiers from the Uganda People's Defence Force for a graduation ceremony in Folkasenyi, Uganda May 16, 2008. The Ugandan service members successfully completed a 16-week counterterrorism course where they practiced basic infantry skills and counterterrorism techniques. (Photo by Technical Sergeant Kati Garcia, U.S. Air Force)
FOLKASENYI, Uganda - Soliders with the Uganda People's Defence Force take part in a demonstration on how to clear a building May 16, 2008 in Folkasenyi, Uganda as part of a 16-week counterterrorism course taught by service members with the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa. During the course, they practiced basic infantry skills and counterterrorism techniques. (Photo by Technical Sergeant Kati Garcia, U.S. Air Force) CJTF-HOA Photo FOLKASENYI, Uganda - Soliders with the Uganda People's Defence Force take part in a demonstration on how to clear a building May 16, 2008 in Folkasenyi, Uganda as part of a 16-week counterterrorism course taught by service members with the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa. During the course, they practiced basic infantry skills and counterterrorism techniques. (Photo by Technical Sergeant Kati Garcia, U.S. Air Force)

More than 200 soldiers with Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) graduated from a 16-week Counterterrorism Course in Folkasenyi, Uganda on May 16, 2008.

The Ugandan Counterterrorism Course was taught by service members with Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and was designed to teach military necessity, distinction, and proportionality.

Brigadier General Roosevelt "Rose" Barfield, deputy commander, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, and Brigadier General Burundi, commander, 1st Infantry Division, Uganda People's Defence Force, presided over the ceremony.

"I want to congratulate all of the soldiers who have completed this training," Barfield said. "It has been tough, it has been hard and it has been trying. Your graduation is a testament to your commitment not only to your army but to your national. Job well done. Hooah!"

According to U.S. Agency for International Development, the United States and Uganda have partnered in an effort to deny terrorist sponsorship and sanctuary in Uganda. The U.S. military has been working closely with members of the Uganda People's Defence Force to help them hone their skills.

"We teach these soldiers various tactics, common soldier tasks and show them how the U.S. counters and fighter terrorism," said U.S. Army Sergeant Daniel J. Leeger. "That's the bottom line of our mission in Uganda - training UPDF soldiers to counter and fighter terror."

U.S. Army Sergeant Brandon Bestard, said he sees the value in courses such as these. "(The UPDF) is a world-recognized, first class military," he said. "This isn't the Army of Idi Amin; they are not on par with the militias they are fighting against. We need to hone that in to them. They are striving for the same goals as our military and looking to hold the same standards."

How the training this group of soldiers received will affect their performance on the battlefield remains to be determined, but reports from previous courses are already positive.

"I have started receiving e-mails from my friends in Iraq," said U.S. Army Captain Joseph Nickel. "They have (UPDF soldiers) pulling security at some bases there and they can already attest to the value of this training. Some day, I may get to work with these soldiers again in the field and see, firsthand, the impact that we've had."

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