Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Africa's the new hotspot. 26th MEU trains for its deployment.

Photos by Lance Cpl. Adwin Esters

Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 12.2 Marines, from 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, fire M40 sniper rifles at 1,000-yard targets during a training exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 10, 2012. The training was a part of their pre-deployment exercises preparing the Marines for their upcoming deployment to Africa.

Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 12.2 Marines, from 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, fire M40 sniper rifles at 1,000-yard targets during a training exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 10, 2012. The training was a part of their pre-deployment exercises preparing the Marines for their upcoming deployment to Africa.

Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 12.2 Marines, from 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, fire M40 sniper rifles at 1,000-yard targets during a training exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 10, 2012. The training was a part of their pre-deployment exercises preparing the Marines for their upcoming deployment to Africa.

A Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 12.2 Marine, from 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, fires M40 sniper rifles at 1,000-yard targets during a training exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 10, 2012. The training was a part of their pre-deployment exercises preparing the Marines for their upcoming deployment to Africa.

Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 12.2 Marines, from 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, fire M40 sniper rifles at 1,000-yard targets during a training exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 10, 2012. The training was a part of their pre-deployment exercises preparing the Marines for their upcoming deployment to Africa.

Maj. John Brown, engineer officer, right, and Capt. Thomas Waller, a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 12.2 team leader, fire a M40 sniper rifle at 1,000-yard targets during a training exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 10, 2012. The training was a part of their pre-deployment exercises preparing the Marines for their upcoming deployment to Africa.

NOTE*
They're not even hiding it anymore.  26th MEU is heading to Africa as part of its upcoming deployment.  It appears more and more like the secret war in the horn of Africa is becoming public.  My only question is why is it necessary for an MEU to provide support to SOCOM's operations?  They have a Division (-) of personnel in house.  

6 comments:

  1. maybe africa isnt high profile enough for SOCOM, no one wants to make more movies out of it, hahahaha!

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  2. i get the joke but everything point to them running some serious ops out of djibouti. serious ops.

    i'm talking about multi-national special ops.

    and they've dragged a Marine MEU into the fray to provide backup. quite honestly they're using the MV-22's for it.

    i wonder where the USAF CV-22 are?

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  3. At some point, the light bulb may just turn on in Tampa and the brass will understand that many of the Army Special Forces and MARSOC personnel are not being used properly. Instead of these highly trained and extremely expensive forces training regular foreign security units, this can be done by Embed Training Teams whose members are mature and specifically trained and volunteer for these training missions. At the skill level of regular conventional troops, the ETTs are qualified; at higher levels, such as when creating a foreign scout unit, the US ETT personnel can be up-trained. The point is this would free a significant number of SOCOM Forces. I have been around ETTs, both mentoring and training police in Iraq and the Afghan Army in Kunar, and they're good. Motivated, mature (no 18 and 19 year olds, this work is too tricky for them, I believe the minimum is usually 24), and well trained.

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  4. hmmm...you came at it from a different direction but we agree. how many SOCOM personnel are caught up in the training mission?

    it is something that the conventional force have and could continue to do.

    interesting.

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  5. You have to be careful with what conventional forces are given these training missions. In fact, no untrained conventional unit should be doing this work. I was with a Marine grunt unit and they were horrible, a total disaster, supervision was lacking, seriousness was lacking, discipline was out the window, a serious failure at Foreign Internal Defense. The local troops on the firing line were swinging the barrels of their rifles around and not realizing they were pointing the barrels at our faces ... horrible.

    On the other hand, a small Embed Training Team has the training and maturity -- which is crucial for this work -- and motivation, otherwise they would not be in ETT. The Teams I was with were really good! But enough of my babbling.

    To answer your question, I don't know the number of SOCOM personnel who are tied down doing this work but a lot of man hours are surely being used that could be used on missions that require their skill-level. (We don't want doctors cleaning bed pans, right? A bad analogy, but that's what popped into my head.:) And cutting SOCOM forces out of these assignments would mean longer breaks at home with the family, which we hear is sorely needed.

    Furthermore, do we really need our SOCOM fighters and trainers in 120 countries? Give me a break! There are only 196 countries in the world. What gives here? Is this just Tampa hype? I understand any group of unemployed, disillusionment food stamp locals in some cesspool of the world can suddenly find a warped god in their head and suddenly say they are al Qaeda. But this doesn't mean we need to spend a few $100 mil to shoot them up to paradise. If this deployment spread on steroids keeps up soon SOCOM units will be shooting at other SOCOM units!

    As far as I know, all of the Afghan Special Forces are trained by the Army Special Forces, not the Marines, who train only regular Afghan troops -- I may be wrong about this, but that is what I understand. Furthermore, SOCOM troops are also furnishing security for Health Clinics and etc. But they're just too expensive and well trained for this type of work. So the real problem, then, might not be we have too few SOCOM forces or they are required for too many missions in too many countries in the world, but they are being used inappropriately. And if this was set right -- use Special Operations only for special operations missions -- maybe SOCOM wouldn't need MARSOC, which makes up only 5 percent of SOCOM forces.

    What I think should happen is each military branch establish Special Operations trained-specialties in their conventional units, some of which would work up to the level of dual conventional and Irregular Warfare capable, but tiered in competence and with narrower capabilities than SOCOM forces. We have to be more creative in the use of our personnel, and as some move up through the ranks they need to expand their competence into both conventional and special operations.

    Finally, I believe we should begin demystifying SOCOM forces some. Bad-ass units, yes. Highly capable, yes. Will come after you, yes. But let's make sure these units aren't sucked into the old enemy of hubris, the world's greatest killer of the best warriors. A good model for this is yesterday's and today's Force Recon -- lay low, strike hard, modesty with quiet confidence, the ultimate professional attitude. Definitely no going Hollywood! And that includes to recruit a few thousand kids who will spend 4 years chipping paint on a Navy tub because they were sucked into a SEAL cinema sales pitch.

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  6. i had to chew on your last comment a while. your post was spot on. but let me hit you with this.

    does SOCOM have the right man in charge right now? MCCRAVEN is practically thumping his chest every opportunity he gets...he isn't seeking to put any reigns on things and a quick google search reveals a commander that is basking in the glory of it all.

    is he the right kind of leader for SOCOM?

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