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Shared Accord Prepares Mozambique Peacekeeping Forces
A joint task force of more than 700 service members set up temporary quarters in Moamba in preparation for Exercise Shared Accord 2010. The team, comprised largely of reserve Marines, began arriving at Maputo's largest military base, July 29,
MOAMBA, Mozambique - Twenty-year-old Lance Corporal Nathan Matthai, a Marine with 4th Logistics Support Battalion, along with soldiers from the Armed Forces for the Defense of Mozambique (FADM), help push-start a pick-up truck July 30, 2010. The truck had been weighed down by a drum of freshly purified river water. Marines with 6th Engineer Support Battalion are working to purify a local water source for civilian use and mission support as part of exercise SHARED ACCORD 2010. The 10-day exercise, which runs August 3-13, will include staff training, small unit tactical training, and humanitarian civic-assistance programs to include medical services, dental services, and engineering projects. (Photo by Corporal Scott Schmidt, U.S. Marine Forces Africa)
1 photo: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 1: MOAMBA, Mozambique - Twenty-year-old Lance Corporal Nathan Matthai, a Marine with 4th Logistics Support Battalion, along with soldiers from the Armed Forces for the Defense of Mozambique (FADM), help push-start a pick-up truck July 30, 2010. The truck had been weighed down by a drum of freshly purified river water. Marines with 6th Engineer Support Battalion are working to purify a local water source for civilian use and mission support as part of exercise SHARED ACCORD 2010. The 10-day exercise, which runs August 3-13, will include staff training, small unit tactical training, and humanitarian civic-assistance programs to include medical services, dental services, and engineering projects. (Photo by Corporal Scott Schmidt, U.S. Marine Forces Africa) Download full-resolution version
A joint task force of more than 700 service members set up temporary quarters in Moamba in preparation for Exercise Shared Accord 2010. The team, comprised largely of reserve Marines, began arriving at Maputo's largest military base, July 29, 2010.

During the 10-day exercise, the task force will work with the Armed Forces for the Defense of Mozambique (FADM), to help prepare them for their new role as a regional peacekeeping force.

Shared Accord is an annually scheduled, bi-lateral U.S.-partner nation event. This year, the exercise will commence in Mozambique, August 3. It is designed to build partner nation capacity for peace and stability operations, according to Captain Kate Vanden Bossche, public affairs officer for the exercise. Previously, the exercise has taken place in locations such as Benin, Ghana, and Senegal.

"I have to tell you I'm unbelievably excited," said Colonel Burke W. Whitman, commanding officer of the joint task force. "We have Army, Navy, Air Force and civilians from the Department of Defense (involved). This is very much a joint task force effort to conduct a combined exercise with our friends from Mozambique."

Although the mission is critically important, it is also a fun mission in a wonderful location, according to Whitman. He elaborated on the importance of the theater security cooperation mission being conducted, and the need to engage both friends and hopeful friends around the globe.

"There is nothing more important than what we're doing for national defense and national security than this," said Whitman. "It is a priority for the Department of State, and a major priority of the current secretary of state, the president and their predecessors."

The importance of preparing the FADM for peacekeeping missions was reinforced by Vanden Bossche when she noted that Mozambique had recently been assigned its first peacekeeping mission for the African Union.

"Angola and Mozambique have been asked to provide 1,000 troops to assist with peacekeeping operations in Somalia," said Vanden Bossche. "This is providing real world legitimacy to everything we are doing here. We have a goal. We have an end state. The (FADM) needs to be ready to go out and support the mission in Somalia."
The exercise is designed to enable the Mozambicans to become more technically and tactically proficient, according to Vanden Bossche.

Leslie Rowe, U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique, stressed the value of the exercise during comments to the troops, July 31. The exercise is part of a very important partnership between the United States and Mozambique, according to Rowe.
"As you know, Exercise Shared Accord is the largest of its type; certainly the largest in the history of Mozambique," said Rowe. "This exercise, and your presence, will further not only our bi-lateral military goals but (also) our bi-lateral regional and diplomatic goals."

Rowe emphasized the concerns Mozambican leaders have about international crime, positive cooperation with other countries, and issues like Somali pirates. She stressed that the training and partnership that will result from this exercise will benefit the overall peacekeeping mission of the Mozambican military.

"You have so much to give to the Mozambican military in terms of your professional expertise and the technical aspects of training for peacekeeping" said Rowe. "The Mozambican military has a tremendous amount to give to you with their experience of operating on the ground and the realities of doing military operations in Mozambique and in Africa."

Lieutenant General John F. Kelly, commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North, spoke to gathered U.S. and Mozambican troops about the importance of their mission, and how grateful the U.S. Marine Corps was for the opportunity to train with the Mozambican military.

"We have a saying, 'No better friend,'" said Kelly.

"No worse enemy!" responded the entire task force.

"This is a friendly place," Kelly added. "And we will show the Mozambicans just how friendly we can be. This is a hugely important event. We are very proud to be here and we thank (the Mozambican military) for your hospitality."

Shared Accord is coordinated by U.S. Marine Forces Africa, the Marine component of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The exercise is scheduled to conclude on or around August 10. All troops will return to their home bases in Europe and the U.S. at the end of the exercise.

See related story: Team Conducts Successful Equipment Offloaded for SHARED ACCORD '10
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