DVIDS – News – Maryland Army National Guard deepens defense partnership in Ghana during African Lion 2024

DAMONGO, Ghana – The sun-drenched training grounds of Damongo have been transformed into a theater of partnership, as soldiers from the U.S. Army and Ghana Armed Forces unite under the blazing sun for African Lion 2024 (AL24) in Ghana.

AL24 marks the twentieth anniversary of US Africa Command’s most significant and largest annual combined joint exercise. The exercise started on April 19 and will continue until May 31, and will be held across Morocco, Ghana, Senega and Tunisia with more than 8,100 participants from more than 27 countries and NATO contingents. AL24 focuses on increasing readiness between U.S. military forces and partner nations.

The Ghana portion of this exercise brings together the Maryland Army National Guard’s Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 175th Infantry Regiment (1-175 IN) and their Ghanaian counterparts for an immersive experience that will test their capabilities to the limit.

U.S. Army Capt. Nicholas Testo, Bravo Company, 1-175 IN company commander and commander of the Ghana portion of AL24 cannot emphasize enough the importance of this partnership.

“These exercises not only sharpen our tactical skills, but also forge an unbreakable bond between our armed forces,” said Testo. “The joint training on situational training ranges has been critical in aligning our operational doctrines.”

The participants in Ghana agreed.

“I think with the relationship between Ghana and America we can learn a lot from each other,” said Lieutenant Jonah Osei-Tutu of the Ghana Armed Forces. “My experience is good and I look forward to more cooperation”

For U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexi Franklin, 1-175 IN battalion commander, his unit’s participation in AL24 spread his companies across three training locations in Africa: Tunisia, Ghana and Senegal.

“I am extremely proud of my soldiers,” Franklin said. “Because my companies were spread throughout Africa, this forced me to rely on my company commanders and let them take the lead.”

In addition to the physical distance between host countries, the 1-175 IN also faced a variety of conditions, such as harsh climate, varying terrain and intermittent connectivity.

“It is a very challenging training environment, but my Soldiers rose to the challenge,” Franklin said.

Date of recording: 22.05.2024
Date posted: 05-30-2024 06:22
Story ID: 472122
Residence: LA PLATA, MD, USA

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