Story by Cpl. Lucas Hopkins
SELOUS GAME RESERVE, Tanzania – More than 40 Tanzanian park rangers graduated from a counter illicit-trafficking course on the Selous Game Reserve in Matambwe, Tanzania, March 27, 2015.
Approximately 15 Marines and Sailors assigned to a Security Cooperation Team with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa attended the ceremony, which marked the end of the first-ever engagement between U.S. Marines and Tanzanian park rangers.
The Marines and Sailors spent the previous four weeks teaching the Tanzanians infantry skills, such as weapons handling, land navigation, and patrolling in an attempt to help combat illicit trafficking.
“Take these skills and adapt them how you see fit, and share them with your fellow park rangers,” said Staff Sgt. Frederick Volz II, the SCT staff-noncommissioned officer-in-charge.
The more than 160 hours of training included classroom instruction, practical application, and performance evaluations.
“I enjoyed being able to show [the rangers] additional skills they can use in the future. Using some of our tactics has the potential to benefit them immensely,” said Lance Cpl. Angel Gonzalez, a rifleman with SPMAGTF-CR-AF.
The Marines are hopeful another group will someday return to Tanzania to teach more park rangers infantry skills to fight illicit trafficking.
“It’s been an honor to train with you all. We hope this is the foundation of future training between the U.S. Military and park rangers both here and elsewhere in Tanzania,” said 1st Lt. Nathaniel Kaine, the SCT officer-in-charge.
“I see this being our first chapter in what I hope will be a very long book in not only the relationship between the park rangers and the Marines, but between the United States and Tanzania,” Volz said.