Bravo Company preps Burundians for Somalia Deployment

Burundi National Defense Force soldiers listen to the requests of U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class John Quinn, Bravo Company, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion medic, during a mock key leader engagement, in Bujumbura, Burundi, May 15, 2014. Burundi National Defense Force Soldiers Listen to the Requests of U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class during a Mock Key Leader Engagement Burundi National Defense Force soldiers listen to the requests of U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class John Quinn, Bravo Company, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion medic, during a mock key leader engagement, in Bujumbura, Burundi, May 15, 2014.
Burundi National Defense Force soldiers discuss the requests of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Terry Wing, Bravo Company, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion medic, during a mock key leader engagement, in Bujumbura, Burundi May 15, 2014. Burundi National Defense Force Soldiers Discuss the Requests of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. During a Mock Key Leader Engagement

Burundi National Defense Force soldiers discuss the requests of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Terry Wing, Bravo Company, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion medic, during a mock key leader engagement, in Bujumbura, Burundi May 15, 2014. The soldiers participated in the two week civil military cooperation engagement intended to enhance the understanding of counter insurgency and civil military operations in preparation for their support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). AMISOM is an active, regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations in Somalia. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Jocelyn A. Ford)

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Nichaya Brown, Preventative Medicine noncommissioned officer in charge assigned to Functional Specialty Team, Bravo Company, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion, speaks on her specialty to Burundi National Defense Force soldiers in Bujumbura, Burundi, May 15, 2014. U.S. Army Staff Sgt., Preventative Medicine Noncommissioned Officer in Charge, Speaks on her Specialty to Burundi National Defense Force Soldiers

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Nichaya Brown, Preventative Medicine noncommissioned officer in charge assigned to Functional Specialty Team, Bravo Company, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion, speaks on her specialty to Burundi National Defense Force soldiers in Bujumbura, Burundi, May 15, 2014. The soldiers attended the week-long medical engagement in preparation for their support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). AMISOM is an active, regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations in Somalia. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Jocelyn A. Ford)

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Terry Wing, Bravo Company, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion, listens to feedback from Burundi National Defense Force (BNDF) soldiers after a mock key leader engagement scenario in Bujumbura, Burundi, May 15, 2014. U.S. Army Staff Sgt Listens to Feedback from Burundi National Defense Force (BDF) Soldiers after Mock Key Leader Engagement Scenario

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Terry Wing, Bravo Company, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion, listens to feedback from Burundi National Defense Force (BNDF) soldiers after a mock key leader engagement scenario in Bujumbura, Burundi, May 15, 2014. The soldiers participated in the two week civil military cooperation engagement intended to enhance the understanding of counter insurgency and civil military operations in preparation for their support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). AMISOM is an active, regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations in Somalia. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Jocelyn A. Ford)

The soldiers find their page and listen intently, pen in hand. They are on their way to a country slightly smaller than the state of Texas and are tasked with eliminating violent extremists.

This could be an exercise scenario in many respects, but for the Burundian National Defense Force Battalion 27, it’s real and preparing them for a deployment to Somalia.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Terry Wing, Bravo 407th Civil Affairs Company and a group of U.S. Soldiers from Bravo Company, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion, shared lessons the U.S. Army civil affairs community has learned from 12 years of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Burundians.

“They sent some outstanding students to this course,” Wing said. “We have a lot of confidence in the soldiers. We covered a lot of topics in the two week timeline and everyone did an outstanding job.”

In total, thirty seven BNDF officers and senior enlisted Soldiers deploying to Somalia in support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) attended. The U.S. Soldiers helped the Burundians hone their ability to work with the Somali people, conduct counter insurgency, work with key leaders and interpreters, as well as review rules of engagement specific to their upcoming deployment.

“Right away we were in the field doing practical demonstrations with role players,” Wing said.

The training bolstered Burundian’s ability to effectively work with interpreters when necessary and be sensitive to cultural differences.

This was not the first training of this type for the 407th and it will not be the last. With that in mind, Wing said he is looking forward to feedback so he can improve the content and delivery of the course information.

“At the end of the course we … gained insight and feedback from the group,” Wing said. “we really look forward to hearing some of the downrange experiences they have so that we can tailor training to meet their needs.”

When the BNDF Battalion 27 Soldiers return from Somalia, U.S. Soldiers will be ready, notebooks out.

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Burundi 407th Civil Affairs Battalion

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