American Soldiers enhance readiness through Ghana Armed Forces-led Jungle Warfare School

ACCRA, Ghana – Caked with mud, dripping with sweat and carrying minimal survival tools, Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment move through the humid and thick brush of the Achiase Jungle. The regionally aligned forces of U.S. Army Africa attended the Ghana Armed Forces-led Jungle Warfare School on Achiase military base, Akim Oda, Ghana, May 20-29, 2017.


“In 1976, our forefathers and the military high command also thought it wise to also establish a school to train the personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces in jungle warfare, so that in case the situation arise where we have to apply ourselves in jungle warfare, we will be able to do. So that is how come the school is established to be able to train people,” said GAF Maj. Jacob Codjoe, the school’s course commander.
May 31, 2017
View Gallery
fallback
Gallery contains 4 images

ACCRA, Ghana – Caked with mud, dripping with sweat and carrying minimal survival tools, Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment move through the humid and thick brush of the Achiase Jungle. The regionally aligned forces of U.S. Army Africa attended the Ghana Armed Forces-led Jungle Warfare School on Achiase military base, Akim Oda, Ghana, May 20-29, 2017. 

The Ghana Armed Forces has trained in jungle warfare for the past four decades. This year, they instructed USARAF’s regionally aligned forces for the first time making this iteration of training the first time any African country taught USARAF’s RAF. 

“In 1976, our forefathers and the military high command also thought it wise to also establish a school to train the personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces in jungle warfare, so that in case the situation arise where we have to apply ourselves in jungle warfare, we will be able to do. So that is how come the school is established to be able to train people,” said GAF Maj. Jacob Codjoe, the school’s course commander.

More than 55 U.S. Soldiers were challenged to survive in the harsh Ghanaian jungle during the ten-day course. The GAF instructors equipped the students with practical knowledge specific to the local terrain and environment. 

“How to adopt themselves to jungle training is very difficult for them because their type of jungle in the U.S. is very different from the type of jungle that we have,” Codjoe said. “We have taught patrolling, which is a key to jungle training … (we) also taught them how to fight insurgents in the jungle terrain, how to combat guerilla in jungle terrain, raid operations and attack on enemy camp operations.”

The Soldiers, performing the various squad and platoon level tactics, quickly realized how difficult navigating the jungle and adjusting to the climate could be. 

“We’ve always been prepared for Iraq and Afghanistan and desert environments and even the mountainous environments, so this is like nothing we’ve dealt with before,” said U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Hugh Smith, the platoon leader for Delta Company. “The terrain and the thickness and how kind of unforgiving the jungle can be, they have to change and tweak things and make it a little different from what we do. There is no way we could prepare for the terrain, there is no way we could prepare for the humidity, but we can be as physically ready as possible.”

According to GAF Sgt. Michael Agyemang, the JWS noncommissioned officer in charge, the U.S. Soldiers, were determined to soak up knowledge from the expert jungle instructors. 
“It’s been a fast learning experience between myself and the students; they are just fast. Anything you tell them, they just grab it at once,” he said. 

A sign at the school reading The Jungle is Neutral was explained as the jungle takes no sides, it treats everyone within it the same way. All the tools learned to effectively navigate and make the jungle cooperate with them rather than against them has increased the future readiness of the American Soldiers. 

Smith said, “I think it’s definitely enhanced the readiness. I think coming to a different environment a different terrain that we’ve never really dealt with before and learning the tactics, learning how to move, learning how to navigate through the jungle is very much helped us in our readiness.”

Navigating the dense, visibility-limiting vegetation and uneven ground, as well as traversing waist-deep ponds and crossing unstable improvised bridges while watching for hidden dangerous wildlife challenged the Soldiers’ alertness. 

“The instructors here at Jungle Warfare School take their job very, very seriously. They treat everything we do as if it’s life or death because when you are in the jungle environment it really is,” said U.S. Army Spc. Bryan Young, an infantryman assigned to 1st Batt., 506th Inf. Regt. “You constantly have to be very vigilant. You have to look out for your surroundings; you have to be situationally aware. Otherwise, the jungle environment will eat you up.”

The fast-paced, physically and mentally demanding course accelerated the bond between the students and instructors. 

“This training has been extremely important to partnership operations, allowing us to share out doctrine and tactics with the Ghanaian Armed Forces, as well allow us to learn their tactics and doctrine enhancing our ability to operate in the future, if necessary, as a cohesive group,” said U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Cavanaugh, the Delta Company commander. “We know what to expect if we were to come to this country again and built those relationships, allowing for more effective interoperability in the future.”

Sleep deprived, covered in ant bites and physically exhausted, the group relied on each other to continue being effective during the grueling course. The instructors motivated the students through chants and the students rallied to finish the course. 

“I have enjoyed working with them because of the teamwork,” Codjoe said. “I’ve realized that even when they are not able to move, they encourage each other to be able to move through. Just like we witnessed today, they were able to sustain themselves, which was very good for them. So, their teamwork has been very great.” 

The opportunity to participate in the training created lasting memories, according to Young. 

“I will absolutely remember being at Jungle Warfare School for the rest of my life,” he said. 
-30-

More in Readiness
US Army Reserve surgical team Soldiers assist Chadian medical partners with depot explosion triage
On June 19 while conducting a Medical Readiness Exercise (MEDREX) at the Garnison Military Hospital in N’Djamena two U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers assisted three Chadian citizens injured from an ammunition depot explosion on June 18.
Read more
US Army Reserve surgical team Soldiers assist Chadian medical partners with depot explosion triage
On June 19 while conducting a Medical Readiness Exercise (MEDREX) at the Garnison Military Hospital in N’Djamena two U.S. Army Reserves Soldiers assisted three Chadian citizens injured from an ammunition depot explosion on June 18.
Read more
Exercise African Lion 2024 concludes in Senegal
As the sun sets on exercise African Lion 2024 (AL24), the echoes of multinational training, strategic partnerships, and enhanced military readiness resonate across Senegal. AL24, U.S. Africa Command’s premier exercise, marked by significant collaboration between the armed forces of Senegal [Forces armées du Sénégal], the U.S. and the Netherlands, concluded on a high note, reinforcing the ties that bind these nations in their common security goals.
Read more
More in Readiness
US Army Reserve surgical team Soldiers assist Chadian medical partners with depot explosion triage
On June 19 while conducting a Medical Readiness Exercise (MEDREX) at the Garnison Military Hospital in N’Djamena two U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers assisted three Chadian citizens injured from an ammunition depot explosion on June 18.
Read more
US Army Reserve surgical team Soldiers assist Chadian medical partners with depot explosion triage
On June 19 while conducting a Medical Readiness Exercise (MEDREX) at the Garnison Military Hospital in N’Djamena two U.S. Army Reserves Soldiers assisted three Chadian citizens injured from an ammunition depot explosion on June 18.
Read more
Exercise African Lion 2024 concludes in Senegal
As the sun sets on exercise African Lion 2024 (AL24), the echoes of multinational training, strategic partnerships, and enhanced military readiness resonate across Senegal. AL24, U.S. Africa Command’s premier exercise, marked by significant collaboration between the armed forces of Senegal [Forces armées du Sénégal], the U.S. and the Netherlands, concluded on a high note, reinforcing the ties that bind these nations in their common security goals.
Read more
More in Readiness
US Army Reserve surgical team Soldiers assist Chadian medical partners with depot explosion triage
On June 19 while conducting a Medical Readiness Exercise (MEDREX) at the Garnison Military Hospital in N’Djamena two U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers assisted three Chadian citizens injured from an ammunition depot explosion on June 18.
Read more
US Army Reserve surgical team Soldiers assist Chadian medical partners with depot explosion triage
On June 19 while conducting a Medical Readiness Exercise (MEDREX) at the Garnison Military Hospital in N’Djamena two U.S. Army Reserves Soldiers assisted three Chadian citizens injured from an ammunition depot explosion on June 18.
Read more
Exercise African Lion 2024 concludes in Senegal
As the sun sets on exercise African Lion 2024 (AL24), the echoes of multinational training, strategic partnerships, and enhanced military readiness resonate across Senegal. AL24, U.S. Africa Command’s premier exercise, marked by significant collaboration between the armed forces of Senegal [Forces armées du Sénégal], the U.S. and the Netherlands, concluded on a high note, reinforcing the ties that bind these nations in their common security goals.
Read more