US soldiers end two-week military training in Ghana

BY: Edmund Smith-Asante

A 15-day military training exercise involving troops from 20 countries in Africa, Europe and USA has ended in Accra.

Dubbed “United Accord”, the exercise which took place from July 16 to July 30 attracted over 800 military personnel from the participating countries including 400 troops from the USA.

Addressing the troops at the closing ceremony last Tuesday, July 31, Ghana’s Chief of Army Staff, Major General William Ayamdo admonished;

“We must respect the importance of human rights and the rule of law, which must govern all operations that we conduct.”
He told the soldiers to always be at their best when they were sent to communities where people were at their lowest ebb and needed their help and not to stoop so low to engage in atrocities even when they were attacked.

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In his closing remarks the Charge d’Affairs of the U.S. Embassy in Accra, Mr Christopher Lamora said “United Accord and similar multinational exercises are critical not only for the exposure, skills and training the participants receive, but also because such exercises demonstrate the great importance of working together for a brighter future for Africa, and for the entire world.

“We have to rely on one another and work together in our joint pursuit of lasting peace and security. Because if we don’t – if we fail to act in a coordinated way the future will remain dangerous and uncertain.”
United Accord 2018

The exercise which was about the fourth in a series of large-scale multinational military exercises to be conducted in Ghana in recent times was co-directed by Brigadier General Solomon Tei-Mensah Osabutey of the Ghana Armed Forces and Brigadier General Eugene LeBoeuf, the Acting Commander of U.S. Army Africa.

Related: 800 US soldiers in Ghana for jungle warfare training at Achiase

The training included a command post exercise (CPX), Field Training Exercise (FTX) at Bundase in the Greater Accra Region, Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE) and Jungle Warfare School (JWS) at Achiase in the Eastern Region.
United Accord 2018 brought together Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states, partner nations, and U.S. forces to foster security cooperation while improving operational planning and mission command capabilities.

Also included were troops from The Netherlands, Germany, Italy and others already in the operational area of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), such as South Sudan and involved 15 per cent female soldiers from the U.S., Liberia, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast among countries.

The aim was to draw military experience, knowledge and expertise from 14 African partner nations and six Western partner nations. It was also to promote regional relationships, increase capacity, train U.S. and Western African forces, and further cross training and interoperability.

The exercise was also to help provide participating military forces the skills required to enable readiness in support of peacekeeping operations in the West Africa sub-region. Following the conclusion of the exercise, participants are returning to their home stations to use their new found knowledge and the lessons learned while participating in the robust exercise.

Training significance

Speaking to the media after the closing ceremony last Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Osabutey said the CPX was a company size exercise, while the FTX involved a Ghanaian engineering and two infantry companies as well as a US company.

He said during the FTX staff officers were taken through lectures and field work based on scenarios created.
On how the exercise would contribute to peacekeeping in the sub-region, Brig. Gen Osabutey said “It will put all of us on the same wave length where we would know what to do in the mission area and also introduce the activities to personnel who have not been on missions yet.”

Speaking to why the US Armed Forces chose to partner African countries in the exercise, Brig. Gen. LeBoeuf said “We all have mutual interest and ensured responsibilities in progressing African countries’ security and stability and so part of the exercise is to seize the opportunity to increase interoperability of our forces, to advance understanding of how to conduct operations in different environments and opportunities for us to understand how to conduct peacekeeping operations in a variety of different countries, and Ghana is one of those and we are very pleased to partner with Ghana which has been a tremendous host.”

He explained that the exercises which were conducted every year was rotated among different countries, adding that Ghana earlier in the year also played host to an emergency response type of training particularly on earthquake relief efforts and how to respond to such disasters and crisis.

“When a crisis comes upon us it is too late for us to learn, so we have to be ready to go and that is why we are here,” he stated, adding that the exercise which had attracted various units of the U.S. Armed Forces formed part of the Defense Cooperation Agreement, which was ample testimony of the enormous cooperation that could be fostered between the two countries.

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