VICENZA, Italy - As part of the ongoing Africa Contingency Operations Training & Assistance (ACOTA) program, two U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) Soldiers trained members of the Ghanaian Defense Forces recently at Bendasi Training Site, Accra, Ghana.
1st Lt. Salvatore Buzzurro and Sgt. 1st Class Grady Hyatt, USARAF ACOTA Military Mentors, assisted the Department of State as they trained the Ghanaians in preparation for a United Nations (UN) deployment.
“ACOTA is a train-the-trainer program, first and foremost; therefore, military mentors monitor the classes given by the Ghanaian cadre and then advise them on ways to enhance their classes, teaching techniques, and practical application piece,” Buzzurro said.
“During the practical exercises, the mentors then attached or embed themselves with the Ghanaian Defense Force platoon commander and platoon warrant officer and advised them on problem solving techniques and tactics,” he said.
ACOTA is a State Department, Bureau of African Affairs Program that originated in 1997 to enhance the capacities and capabilities of its African Partner Countries, regional institutions, and the continent’s peacekeeping resources as a whole so they can plan for, train, deploy, and sustain sufficient quantities of professionally competent peacekeepers to meet conflict transformation requirements with minimal non-African assistance.
“The system has been very well received by the Ghanaian forces, and the mentors have seen vast improvements in the classes taught, the tactics being used, and the use of Troop Leading Procedures,” Buzzurro said.