‘Stronger Together’ Utah National Guard CBRN Task Force trains with Ghana Armed Forces during African Lion

Utah National Guard Soldiers from the Homeland Response Force – Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Task Force, known as HRF-CBRN, traveled overseas to train with Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) as part of Exercise African Lion 2023, from May 31 to June 14, 2023.


“We are the CBRN experts and we are helping them learn those skills, and they [Ghana Armed Forces personnel] are EOD [explosive ordnance disposal] and firefighting experts,” said Lund. “As we teach our material, they help us understand their environment better."
By Sgt. James Bunn Utah National Guard Public Affairs Tamale, Ghana Jun 15, 2023
View Gallery
fallback
Gallery contains 5 images

TAMALE, Ghana - Utah National Guard Soldiers from the Homeland Response Force – Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Task Force, known as HRF-CBRN, traveled overseas to train with Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) as part of Exercise African Lion 2023, from May 31 to June 14, 2023.

Utah Soldiers trained on how to respond in a CBRN environment and learned firefighting techniques from their GAF counterparts. As each military group trained with each other, they became stronger together.

“We have been training with Ghana Armed Forces while working in a hazardous materials or dangerous goods environment,” said U.S. Army Maj. Kory Lund, deputy commander of the HRF-CBRN. “The training is going really well and it is strengthening our partnership with the Ghana military. As we build on one another, we increase our friendships and interoperability. We help our Ghana partners by showing them our best practices and they help us by showing their established procedures.”

During training, participants learned the fundamentals of decontamination and donning necessary protective gear to effectively contain an area where chemical contaminants are present. Additionally, participants learned the steps to detecting CBRN environments.

“We are the CBRN experts and we are helping them learn those skills, and they [Ghana Armed Forces personnel] are EOD [explosive ordnance disposal] and firefighting experts,” said Lund. “As we teach our material, they help us understand their environment better.

Lund added that working together enables the HRF-CBRN to understand how U.S. EOD may approach a situation involving explosives and contaminants.

While the main focus was on CBRN training, U.S. Soldiers and Ghana Armed Forces members built lasting bonds and new friendships.

“The training has gone really well, we’ve met a ton of people and have seen a lot of new perspectives,” said U.S. Army Spc. Cierra Frandsen, a CBRN specialist with the Utah National Guard’s HRF-CBRN. “We are really grateful for the time we’ve been given out here to not only teach them but to train with them and learn from them.” U.S. Soldiers were not the only ones to learn new perspectives, as participating GAF Soldiers had many questions for their U.S. counterparts.

“The coordination has been very good because they are free for us to ask them any question,” said Ghana Armed Forces Sgt. Richard Darkwa, an explosive ordnance disposal technician. “If you don’t understand something they are open to answer any question you ask them and they are very understanding. More exercises like this should be organized so that others that work in different fields also have the chance to share the experience.”

The skill and knowledge of the Utah National Guard Soldiers and the willingness of the Ghana Armed Forces to learn new skills enhanced the CBRN training for both forces. Ghana forces edified and improved the Utah Guard Soldiers during the training. Both partners left more knowledgeable and better prepared to overcome future challenges.

The combined CBRN training embodied the African Lion ethos: “Stronger Together.”

African Lion is an annual multinational training exercise between the U.S. and participating African nations that improves interoperability, increases and builds partnerships. This year’s iteration features 18 nations and over 8,000 personnel hosted by Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and Ghana.

More in Partnerships
African Lion 24 concludes with strategic success across four nations
VICENZA, Italy — African Lion 24 (AL24), U.S. Africa Command’s premier, annual combined joint exercise conducted by U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF), concluded on May 31, 2024, in Morocco. AL24 ran from April 19 to May 31 across Ghana, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia, with over 8,100 participants from 27 nations and NATO contingents.
Read more
Maryland Army National Guard deepens defense partnership in Ghana at African Lion 2024
DAMONGO, Ghana - The sun-soaked training areas of Damongo have been transformed into a theater of partnership, where soldiers from the U.S. Army and Ghana Armed Forces unite under the blazing sun for African Lion 2024 (AL24) in Ghana.
Read more
Utah National Guard’s State Partnership Program brings healthcare to underserved Moroccan people
The Utah National Guard and the Kingdom of Morocco are linked through the National Guard's State Partnership Program, which helps facilitate combined training and mission opportunities such as the State Headquarters Medical Readiness Detachment's humanitarian civic assistance operations.
Read more
More in Partnerships
African Lion 24 concludes with strategic success across four nations
VICENZA, Italy — African Lion 24 (AL24), U.S. Africa Command’s premier, annual combined joint exercise conducted by U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF), concluded on May 31, 2024, in Morocco. AL24 ran from April 19 to May 31 across Ghana, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia, with over 8,100 participants from 27 nations and NATO contingents.
Read more
Maryland Army National Guard deepens defense partnership in Ghana at African Lion 2024
DAMONGO, Ghana - The sun-soaked training areas of Damongo have been transformed into a theater of partnership, where soldiers from the U.S. Army and Ghana Armed Forces unite under the blazing sun for African Lion 2024 (AL24) in Ghana.
Read more
Utah National Guard’s State Partnership Program brings healthcare to underserved Moroccan people
The Utah National Guard and the Kingdom of Morocco are linked through the National Guard's State Partnership Program, which helps facilitate combined training and mission opportunities such as the State Headquarters Medical Readiness Detachment's humanitarian civic assistance operations.
Read more
More in Partnerships
African Lion 24 concludes with strategic success across four nations
VICENZA, Italy — African Lion 24 (AL24), U.S. Africa Command’s premier, annual combined joint exercise conducted by U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF), concluded on May 31, 2024, in Morocco. AL24 ran from April 19 to May 31 across Ghana, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia, with over 8,100 participants from 27 nations and NATO contingents.
Read more
Maryland Army National Guard deepens defense partnership in Ghana at African Lion 2024
DAMONGO, Ghana - The sun-soaked training areas of Damongo have been transformed into a theater of partnership, where soldiers from the U.S. Army and Ghana Armed Forces unite under the blazing sun for African Lion 2024 (AL24) in Ghana.
Read more
Utah National Guard’s State Partnership Program brings healthcare to underserved Moroccan people
The Utah National Guard and the Kingdom of Morocco are linked through the National Guard's State Partnership Program, which helps facilitate combined training and mission opportunities such as the State Headquarters Medical Readiness Detachment's humanitarian civic assistance operations.
Read more