AFL soldiers deploy for IED recognition program

Armed forces of Liberia soldiers deployed to Mali on May 3 to complete an improvised explosives device recognition course by Operation ONWARD LIBERTY at Edward Binyah Kesselly Military Barracks.

The IED recognition course built upon other IED familiarization and lane trainings, which took squads through different scenarios to increase their experience with IED recognition.

ONWARD LIBERTY, which led the training, is a U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa-led operation in which U.S. service members mentor AFL soldiers to help them develop a responsible and effective military force to keep Liberia safe and fight for good.

"The purpose of this course was to identify strengths and improvement areas for the platoon and to build on their prior training ahead of their deployment," U.S. Marine Corps 1st. Lt. Robert Rivera said. "They've received basic IED training and seen scenario lanes, and this training built on that. They encountered four different lanes which each entailed a dynamic, Mali-focused threat they may encounter."

Rivera said the AFL platoon excelled at entry point and now have the tools they need to continue to improve in every area. AFL 1st Lt. and platoon commander Nathaniel Waka said the AFL platoon executed scenarios that he had never seen before.

"The course was invaluable for helping the troops think on their feet and react in dynamic situations," Waka said. "With each new course and phase of training, our soldiers continue to improve and grow in confidence and proficiency."