Thies — A combined-forces closing ceremony officially marked the end of Exercise Western Accord 2012 on the airfield in Thies, Senegal, July 19, 2012.
"These past two weeks have been challenging as well as rewarding," said Colonel Anthony Fernandez III, the Task Force commander for WA-12. "We shared the same dirt and sweat under the same sun."
Western Accord was sponsored by U.S. Africa Command and led by Marine Forces Africa. The multi-lateral training exercise included: live-fire and combat marksmanship training, peace keeping operations, disaster response, intelligence capacity building, as well as a humanitarian-civic assistance project that provided primary medical and dental assistance to more than 2,000 residents of the local population.
The exercise increased U.S. and African nation's interoperability and understanding of each other's capabilities and proficiency, enhancing the ability to operate together in limited crises response and overseas contingency operations.
"We thank our American friends for their knowledge and expertise in helping us improve military tactics and humanitarian peacekeeping operations," said Brigadier General Papa Samba Kamara, the chief of staff for the Army Senegalese Forces.
Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment made up the primary element of the task force along with reservists from all across the U.S. to include the 4th Medical Battalion, Vermont Army National Guard, and Marine Wing Support Squadron 473. Participating African nations included Senegal, Burkina Faso, Guinea, and The Gambia.
"Our reward is that we leave here with a greater understanding and appreciation for what we have done and learned, and respect the bonds we have created with our fellow warriors," said Fernandez.