Maryland Army National Guard and multinational partners strengthen bonds in Senegal

DODJI, Senegal — As the dust settles over the training areas in Dodji, Senegal, A Company, 1st Battalion, 175th Infantry Regiment of the Maryland Army National Guard (1-175) stands out for its essential role in exercise African Lion 2024 (AL24).


“This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to connect with our partners in the Senegalese armed forces and the U.S. Army,” said Sgt. 1st Class Calvin Vanaltena, squad leader, Reconnaissance Platoon, 45th Infantry Battalion, RLNA. “This will help continue to share our different experiences and hone our skills together.”
By Maj. Richard Dickson U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa Dodji, Senegal Jun 02, 2024
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DODJI, Senegal — As the dust settles over the training areas in Dodji, Senegal, A Company, 1st Battalion, 175th Infantry Regiment of the Maryland Army National Guard (1-175) stands out for its essential role in exercise African Lion 2024 (AL24).

A Co.’s activities were a cornerstone of AL24 in Senegal, with Soldiers conducting live-fire exercises, squad tactical exercises and a combined field training exercise, alongside partners from the Armed Forces of Senegal (SAF) [Forces armées du Sénégal] and the Royal Netherlands Army (RLNA) [Koninklijke Landmacht].

"Our role in African Lion is to not only train together and share best practices, but also to strengthen ties with our African and international partners,” said Capt. Tim Dziwulski, A Company commander. “It's about more than readiness; it's about building lasting relationships and mutual understanding."

The exercises coordinated by the 1-175 included rigorous combat training scenarios that tested the mettle and coordination of the participating forces. These scenarios varied from live-fire drills to complex maneuver tactics, designed to enhance interoperability among the partner nations.

“We have been training for the past two years on squad- and platoon-level tactics, including close-quarter combat and counter-IED [improvised explosive devices] drills,” said Dziwulski. “All of that training was conducted in preparation to work with our Senegalese and RLNA partners in this joint exercise.”

A standout feature of their involvement this year was the combined training with Senegalese and Dutch partners. This integration brought diverse military traditions and practices into the fold, enriching the training environment.

“This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to connect with our partners in the Senegalese armed forces and the U.S. Army,” said Sgt. 1st Class Calvin Vanaltena, squad leader, Reconnaissance Platoon, 45th Infantry Battalion, RLNA. “This will help continue to share our different experiences and hone our skills together.”

In addition to AL24, the Senegalese work on a continual basis with the U.S. Army 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade (2nd SFAB), which rotates advisor teams throughout the year to Senegal as part of a long-standing partnership. Exercises such as AL24 reinforce these partnerships.

“Working together is important for interoperability between the units to continue to be able to work together in the future,” said Lt. Saliou Toure, platoon commander, 3rd Infantry Battalion, SAF. “This exercise is a very good opportunity to build [partnership] between each other and know where we can help one another.”

SETAF-AF provides U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Army Europe and Africa a dedicated headquarters to synchronize Army activities in Africa and scalable crisis-response options in Africa and Europe.

For further details on SETAF-AF's activities, please visit www.setaf-africa.army.mil.

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