MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina -- After conducting missions in Africa and remaining alert to respond to crises, the Marines and Sailors of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa, also known as Detachment A (Det A), safely returned home to Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb 5.
Based out of Naval Air Station Sigonella, the unit conducted training engagements with partner nations in Western and Eastern Africa and remained postured to assist the other elements of SPMAGTF-CR-AF in Europe with crisis response missions.
“We have two missions—one is to send trained and qualified professionals to Africa where they can share their knowledge while working alongside our African partners towards a common goal and the other is being prepared to respond to America’s call when we are needed, because that’s what Marines do,” said Lt. Col. William C. Stophel, the commanding officer of Det A.
During the six-month deployment, Det A joined forces with the U.S. Coast Guard and United Kingdom Royal Marines, bringing integrated military-to-military joint and combined training opportunities. A detachment of infantry Marines from Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment augmented Det A supporting training missions throughout Africa. Mission sets in Africa included basic infantry tactics, engineering and logistics, small boat operations, combat lifesaving, and small boat and vehicular maintenance.
Training engagements occurred in Burundi and Uganda with the Burundi National Defense Force and the Ugandan People’s Defense Force. Det A provided direct assistance to both militaries in preparation for their deployments supporting the African Union Mission to Somalia. Amongst the other partner nations Det A trained with, Burundi and Uganda are the longest standing Theater Security Cooperation missions that the unit has participated in since inception in 2011.
“It’s important for us to conduct TSC engagements, because not only are we creating interoperability between our militaries, but together we are working to enhance regional stability and security—which in turn will benefit the safety and security of all,” said Stophel.
Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa Det A strengthens U. S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa and U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command’s ability to assist partner nations in addressing security challenges. Marines and Sailors with SPMAGTF Crisis Response-Africa Det A conduct theater security cooperation, military-to-military engagements and are trained to provide contingency support to crisis response.
Combat Logistics Battalion-2 replaced 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment on July 24, 2014 as the first Logistics Combat Element supporting SPMAGTF-CR-AF Det A crisis response missions. Spread out over two continents, Det A also has detachments in Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania and Moron Air Base, Spain operating under similar mission sets of combat service support, multinational military-to-military training, bilateral exercises, and remaining on alert to respond to crises.