Marines from the Military Police Company, 4th Law Enforcement Battalion, participated in Exercise Shared Accord 13, to advise crowd-control, non-lethal Weapons tactics and principles, and non-lethal weapons employment to counterparts in the South African National Defense Force.
"MP company brought their Non-lethal package to train with their South African counterparts as well as the [U.S] Army," said Maj. Sean P. McGraw, company commander for MP Company and Kansas City, Miss., native.
Shared Accord 13 was a U.S. Army Africa-led multilateral engagement with U.S. military forces and SANDF that included more than 700 American servicemembers from the U.S. Marine Corps, Army, Navy and Air Force along with more than 3,000 SANDF members. It is the largest engagement of its kind on the continent for U.S. Africa Command from July 24- Aug. 7, 2013.
"We are here as a resource and to provide military police expertise, sharpen our skills, accomplish our mission-essential tasks," said McGraw. " It's good to know that we can integrate in a short amount of time and be able to execute the mission based on our shared professionalisms and discipline."
The training reviewed the basics of riot-shield line formations, use of riot shields, baton work, keeping rhythm in the line, the deployment of "snatch teams," used to acquire and detain high-value individuals, such as a riot leader, as well as share common practices from Marine military police training to SANDF and U.S. Army counterparts.
"It's a real thing to them; they deal with it more frequently," said Sgt. Anthony S. Kiehl, a military policemen and platoon guide for 1st Plt., MP Company.
"We're coming here and showing them our ways to handle the crowds but the Marines get to come here and see their ways and see their experiences; why they train and learn how this goes down in the real world," added Kiehl. "I hope we get another opportunity to do it."
In addition to riot-control techniques, the Marines introduced ammunitions for less-than-lethal force, including sandbags, rubber bullets and bearings and Oleoresin Capsicum (OC), or pepper, spray.
"We have to integrate tactics and training and adapt our doctrines because no defense force knows everything," said South African Lt. Col. Wouter Meiring, the opposing forces monitor, Joint Operations Division, South African Infantry Battalion.
U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa was one of the many components to support the large-scale operation that included many operations, exercises and evaluations, including: a Marine, maritime amphibious assault exercise, live-fire operations and weapons ranges, airborne and dismounted infantry tactics, peacekeeping operations and disaster response.
"To adapt doctrine, you have to test doctrine and this is a good way to do that with a well-trained, combat-ready force so we can tailor our own skills," said Meiring.
In addition to military operations training, a humanitarian civic assistance project provided primary medical, veterinary and optometry assistance to the local population.
This exercise is an example of a long-committed history of enduring partnership with African nations that precedes the creation of U.S. Africa Command. For decades, multilateral engagements like Shared Accord have been conducted between U.S. and African militaries to build capacity, create friendships and promote regional stability throughout the continent.
"The more we see and experience, the more we learn. We test doctrine together and we adapt; it's the only way we can learn in advance," said Meiring.
"Whenever there's a situation when we'll have to work together, this training will help reduce the timeframe for integration to become a better, effective fighting force."