A team from Task Force Sparta, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, is teaching lifesaving skills to Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) combat engineer soldiers and officers during Deliberate Kindle 2016, Sept. 5-30, at a training center in Kenya.
Deliberate Kindle 2016 is a four-week course designed to prepare the KDF soldiers for future deployments in support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Approximately 53 KDF soldiers are given various Humanitarian Mine Action lessons focused around countering improvised explosive device (C-IED) tactics, including tactical combat medical skills, demolition training and train-the-trainer skill sets.
The training provides basic skills the KDF can rely and further build upon while deployed with AMISOM by increasing their effectiveness, and thus allowing them to return home safely, said U.S. Navy Ensign Christina Hammervold, Deliberate Kindle 2016 mission commander.
“It’s important to conduct C-IED training for all troop contributing countries (TCCs) because it is the most detrimental threat they are currently experiencing while supporting AMISOM,” Hammervold said. “Creating better trained AMISOM TCCs is vital to our success in obtaining the overall regional stability (CJTF-HOA) is seeking.”
A KDF commanding officer also stressed the importance of the combined training for their future missions.
“It’s very important to come together [for this training],” said KDF Maj. Anthony. “We learned some new tactics and ideas from [the Americans]. We also have different training techniques. Therefore, when we come together in partnership, we learn a lot from each other.”
The course goes into detail on identifying different IEDs, how to effectively use mine detectors, what to do when an IED is found, and also how to treat someone who has been injured from an explosion. At the end of each course portion the soldiers will complete practical applications of the skills learned in each class.
“It’s nice for the partnerships to be together because we are learning from [Task Force Sparta] and their experiences,” said KDF Warrant Officer Athumani, a squadron sergeant major. “That will help us fight the fight.”
During the last week of the course, the soldiers will have the opportunity to train other KDF soldiers on what they have learned in the training environment for effective transmission of skills.
“It’s paying it forward,” said U.S. Navy Hospitalman 1st Class Aaron Christensen, Deliberate Kindle lead medical trainer and a dive independent duty corpsman. “We are trying to make sure they have the skillset to pass it on to other soldiers. So it’s not just these 53 people who were able to take the information, but for them to take it and [further] expand upon it. That way, we are growing the medical and IED awareness knowledge-base to continue the growth of their abilities to respond to emergencies.”
Task Force Sparta utilizes small explosive ordnance disposal teams and maneuver units to conduct partner nation training throughout HOA to build partner capacity, Hammervold said.
“It’s awesome. I like the instructors because they are friendly and they have the knowledge and experience,” said KDF Lance Cpl. Mohamed. “They are not just giving us what is in the books, and we are very much confident that [this] is the kind of gift we will never forget.”