Thursday, November 8, 2007

U.S. Soldiers graduate from French commando training

(courtesy photo)

Army Spc. Brian Seney, Delta Company 1⁄3 ‘‘Old Guard,” receives the commando course combat pin during the French commando course graduation ceremony. Seney is currently deployed to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa’s Camp Lemonier.
Spc. Brian Seney, a member of the Old Guard’s Delta Company, is one of 14 Soldiers from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa to graduate from a French Commando Course Oct. 25 in Arta, Djibouti.

Being able to learn new techniques from the French was an eye-opening experience, Seney said.

‘‘It was great to work alongside the French and receive a broad spectrum of training that allowed us to learn from each other,” said Seney. ‘‘They have skills we don’t have and we have skills they don’t have, so sharing them is the best way to do business because it makes us all better.”

The objective of the Centre D’Entrainement Au Combat D’Arta Plage is counter-guerrilla warfare: the pinpointing and surveillance of a hostile zone, the dislodging of a hostile group, helicopter ambush and hands-on combat.

‘‘Each of you has found in your inner self the necessary strength to obtain your diploma,” said French Gen. de Brigade Aerienne Philippe Lefort, commanding the French Forces in Djibouti. ‘‘I think this training period has made you stronger, more resilient and has touched your very heart.”

With Soldiers from three different platoons and a female staff judge advocate making up the class, each Soldier had to overcome their environment, push themselves to excel in each obstacle, and learn that it’s OK to get some help along the way.

‘‘It lets me know that I have it within me to do training like this and that I am as strong as the next guy,” said Capt. Safiya Ingram, 20th Special Forces Group SJA. ‘‘It also taught me that getting over an obstacle sometimes requires the assistance of other people, and it’s not that you’re weak, there’s just a better way of doing things and teamwork is the best way sometimes.”

Ingram went on to say the experience pushed her to overcome injuries, fatigue and face her personal fears of height and accomplish the obstacles set before the team.

‘‘In life there are many challenges but it’s those you choose to take on and see through to the end that remain with you forever and give you the most gratification and satisfaction,” said Ingram.

‘‘It gives us an idea of how this type of training is conducted elsewhere,” said Ingram. ‘‘It’s always good to see how others work, especially if we have to work together on future missions.”

Each Soldier received a certificate of completion and 10 out of the 14 received the Commando Course combat pin.