This year’s Flintlock exercise, which takes place in host-country Mauritania with an outstation in Senegal, provided a training opportunity for Soldiers and military planners belonging to more than a dozen African countries. For the first time, two of those African countries – Morocco and Senegal – took on the role as trainers themselves, using experience and skill gleaned from past Flintlock exercises to enhance counterterrorism and regional cooperation for African soldiers in neighboring countries.
Soldiers with the Armed Forces of Senegal oversaw instruction to teach lifesaving skills to their African neighbors during the exercise Feb. 17-28.
"You can reduce so much the people who die in the field and maybe when we send him to another place with more capacity to control the bleeding, he can survive," said one African special operations paramedic.
The instruction touched on a variety of lifesaving skills in a realistic scenario to make African forces fully prepared to perform casualty care in a real situation.
"We are always learning, and every time we come here [Flintlock] we learn something new,” continued the paramedic. “And the things we learn here we apply it in our country and we’re training every day and how to control the victims in the field with my team, we are always doing missions like this."
During the combat care course soldiers learned critical skills to save lives during combat, such as applying tourniquets and wound packing to minimize blood loss.
“We are always learning and every time we come here we learn something new,” said the paramedic. “And the things we learn here we apply it in our country and we’re training every day.”
In addition to tactical combat casualty care, African forces with a shared interest in security in the Sahel refined their individual weapon skills, close quarters battle and mission planning. The two-week event builds upon the previous day’s training, progressing to a culminating exercise Feb. 28.
Flintlock is an annual, integrated military and law enforcement exercise that has strengthened key partner-nation forces throughout North and West Africa since 2005. The event is U.S. Africa Command’s premier and largest annual Special Operations Forces exercise, and designed to increase partner nations’ capabilities and strengthen country-to-country relationships.
Story by: Sgt. Connor Douglas and Patrick Loch