SAINT LOUIS, Senegal – Senegalese Special Operations Forces Soldiers landed on the shores of Saint Louis, Senegal, Feb. 10 during the culmination exercise of riverine training. Riverine training is one of the training events occurring in St. Louis as a part of Flintlock 2016.
U.S. Soldiers from 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) and Special Operations Forces from the Netherlands partnered with the Senegalese for this training.
“The Flintlock exercise at its core is a special operations counter-terrorism exercise,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. William D. Rose, Flintlock exercise director with Special Operations Command Africa. “It is designed specifically to train and exercise regional forces by country among our African partners specifically focused on North and West Africa to counter the relevant threats that they are dealing with today.”
The focus of riverine operations is important, specifically to the Saint Louis Military Zone 2. Military Zone 2 is the military headquarters based in Saint Louis, which covers the northwest portion of the country.
“The reason for riverine operations in Zone 2 is there are more than 700 kilometers of river,” said Senegalese Col. Henry Diouf, Military Zone 2 commander. “The force that controls the Senegalese River controls security in the region.”
The Senegalese Special Operation Forces practiced tasks with U.S. and the Netherlands Special Operations Forces a week prior to the culmination exercise. The tasks included tactical movements on land and sea, treating causalities, marksmanship, room clearing, mission planning and communications training. During this exercise, forces moved by Zodiac boats in order to secure a beach, tactically moved to a training compound, captured a high value target and returned back to sea.
Flintlock is not focused on any specific security situation, rather on developing capacity and strengthening Special Operations Forces bonds.
“We are not facing a threat right now,” said Diouf. “However, it is always better to be prepared if that day comes.”
This training event was a learning experience for both the Senegalese Special Operations Forces and partner nations.
“From a U.S. standpoint specifically, we are learning as much as we are bringing to the table,” said Rose. “Our African partners are just that – they are partners and our peers. What they have learned on a daily basis they bring to this event, share it with us and we learn how better we can integrate our own assets and our own resources and efforts into countering these regional and terrorist threats that they may face.”