We traveled to Cameroon to deliver security training to the Cameroon navy, but left with 16 new friends and a few tokens of tribal appreciation.
I’m Chief Master-at-Arms, Jerry Mosley—officer in charge of the MCAST command’s Security Force Assistance (SFA) team. Upon request of the Cameroon navy, I took a small three-person team to the Douala navy base on Africa’s Atlantic coast to provide a physical security course. The course included training on anti-terrorism/force protection measures, personnel and vehicle security inspections and proper security checkpoint procedures. It’s just one of many courses our MCAST international security cooperation initiative holds with partner nations to strengthen global maritime partnerships.
For five days (July 19-12, 2010), we worked with 16 members of the Cameroon navy—not only improving methods for guarding their security checkpoints, but experiencing each others’ cultures and learning from our respective military styles.
Lt. Moudio Hervé, a company commander in the Cameroon navy and a student in the Security Force Assistance physical security course, told me that training is important because the Cameroon navy needs to improve their method for guarding security checkpoints at the Douala base and because “we have an open barrier around our base” where intruders can present a significant threat.
Another leader in the Cameroon navy, Sgt. Nshom Peter, mentioned that, “the most important thing that I can say I’ve learned has been the exchange of cultures.” That to me was a sign that our efforts in the region have been worthwhile. .
One of my instructors, Master-at-Arms First Class Paul Francois, noted that “interacting with the students here and learning their traditions and military customs helps to build that partnership because we are understanding each other better.”
Upon completion of the five-day course, all 16 representatives of the Cameroon security force were recognized with certificates of completion, while the other instructors and I were presented with wooden Cameroonian tribal masks as a token of appreciation and friendship—something I know I will treasure for years to come.
About MCAST SFA Mobile training teams:
SFA mobile training teams from the MCAST command deliver maritime expeditionary core instruction to foreign militaries in support of security cooperation and foreign internal defense missions. Subject areas include small boat operations and tactics, maritime combat operations, weapons handling, anti-terrorism/force protection, maintenance and construction, and officer and non-commissioned officer professional development and leadership.For more information on the MCAST command, visit www.mcast.navy.mil or www.facebook.com/pages/Maritime-Civil-Affairs-and-Security-Training-MCAST-Command/165833618708?ref=nf