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U.S. Marine Special Operations Train Dominican Forces, Enhance ‎Relationships

Por Dialogo
janeiro 05, 2009

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Advisor Group, Marine Special ‎Operations Team-Eight recently provided training to the Dominican Republic Secretary ‎of State Counter Terrorism Armed Forces or SEFA CT, as part of a Joint Combined ‎Exchange Training program.‎ Aside from learning the basics of marksmanship, SEFA CT was instructed in a myriad of ‎skill sets ranging from advanced light infantry tactics, techniques and procedures to ‎medical first responders. U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command carefully ‎screens and selects each team member, who for this mission, is operationally attached to ‎Special Operations Command South.‎ ‎ ‎ These battle-hardened, highly-trained Marines and Sailors, possess unique skills that go ‎beyond those required by their occupational specialties. They are charged with the ‎responsibility to train, advise and assist friendly host-nation forces.‎ The training they provide enables host-nation forces to support their governments’ ‎internal security and stability by helping them prepare to respond to a wide range of ‎security threats. ‎ ‎“In order for this training to succeed, it’s crucial to establish rapport with them ‎immediately, but you have to gain their trust first to help build their confidence,” said ‎MSOT-Eight, Officer in Charge.‎ According to Wilber Dotel, Ensign, Dominican Naval Forces, SEFA CT, trusting this ‎team came easily because he and his men were extremely impressed with the knowledge ‎base, experience and training MSOT-Eight brought with them.‎ ‎“This training helps us directly engage the problems regarding narco-trafficking in our ‎country. Your [logistics] support is immense and extremely valued, and without that, ‎none of this would have been possible,” Dotel added.‎ As a testament to the training provided by MSOT-Eight, many of the host-nation soldiers ‎trained were chosen to work directly for the Dominican Republic President and other ‎internal political figures. ‎ ‎ The training team is primarily made up of junior ranking Non-Commissioned Officers, ‎one senior NCO and a mid-grade NCO. According to the team captain, the ‎responsibilities placed on them individually, is echelons above their current pay grade ‎and experience but they all agreed they have become well rounded individually and a ‎very tight knit group.‎ Additionally, the teams’ chief hospital corpsmen and weapons NCO said that the ‎conventional side of the Marine Corps and Navy will benefit from having all of them if ‎sent back to serve in that function.‎ ‎“Although it’s a relatively new concept, and aside from the challenges this unique ‎structure brings about, being with this small, specialized, mature group of guys makes it ‎all worth while,” said the Chief Hospital Corpsmen and 15-year veteran.‎ ‎“The concept and inception of Special Operations Forces within the U.S. Marine Corps ‎came to fruition approximately three years ago, but I feel the impact throughout the corps ‎and fleet will be beneficial and long lasting,” added the Chief Hospital Corpsmen.‎ ‎ ‎ At the end of each day, MSOT-Eight instructors gather the SEFA CT around them and go ‎over what was learned in the day’s lesson. According to the teams’ captain, this allows ‎him and his men an opportunity to practice the local language while testing the students ‎on recently acquired knowledge, increasing respect for one another.‎ ‎“It’s truly a reverent feeling to see the guys you trained grow in ability and pass it along,” ‎said MSOT-Eight Weapons Sergeant.‎ ‎“Our efforts to learn their language and culture mixed with their desire to become a better ‎fighting force has helped our relations, formed a bond and understanding of one another,” ‎added the MSOT-Eight Weapons Sergeant. ‎