Friday, August 24, 2012

Southern Accord

There has been a slow but quiet movement of US special forces into Africa, mostly to help the African Union to fight terror groups in the Somali area, but also to help Uganda to get Kony's group.

But this is the first I've heard them moving in Southern Africa,

Photo from StrategyPage:

U.S. Army and Botswana Defense Force engineers improve an existing pond used for watering livestock and some agricultural needs in a small village near Mkankake Range in Botswana, Aug. 20, 2012. The engineers are participating in Southern Acord 2012, an annual joint exercise to enhance military capabilities and interoperability. The U.S. engineers are assigned to engineers the 631st Engineers Company. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James D. Sims

and here is an article about the Illinois National Guard's part of these exercizes:

Illinois Army National Guard from Streator, Ill., and their counterparts from the Botswana Defense Force, have been running both static and mobile re-fueling operations at Thebephatswha Air Base, Botswana.

Southern Accord 2012, or SA 12, is an annual combined, joint exercise which brings together U.S. military and Botswana Defense Force, or BDF, personnel to conduct humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations, peacekeeping operations and aeromedical evacuation to enhance military capabilities and interoperability.

With more than 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 2,000 gallons of aviation fuel on the ground, the combined team is responsible for providing fuel for both ground and air assets during the exercise.

and yes, the docs are there too:

THEBEPHATSHWA AIR BASE, Botswana (Aug. 10, 2012) -- Soldiers from the 909th Forward Surgical Team out of Fort Sheridan, Ill., provided medical training to soldiers of the Botswana Defense Force Aug. 2, in The Republic of Botswana, Africa.

 and the Hawaii National Guard are there too, helping teach about helicopters.

these things always make me a bit nervous: no, I don't think anyone is expecting Zimbabwe to attack Botswana, but contingency plans like this allow fast response for mass emergencies, as the presence of a US and Austrailian navy units helped local response after the tsunami (and in several Filipino diseasters)

when you train together, it means you know each other and someone has hands on experience in the area.

and "The area" would,  of course, include South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe....such as the floods two years ago in South Africa.

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