Thursday, August 5, 2021

Liberia’s Armed Forces Joins Michigan National Guard for Exercises

During Northern Strike 21, the Michigan National Guard continues to strengthen its State Partnership Program (SPP) connection with the Armed Forces of the Republic of Liberia. 

Liberian soldiers are among the expected 5,100 participants from several states and nations at Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center for the Michigan National Guard's Northern Strike 21 Exercise. The exercise will take place at Camp Grayling and the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, which are both part of the National All Domain Warfighting Center (NADWC). 

“Today, we conducted vehicle rollover and weapons training with the Liberian Army,” said Spc. Noah Schlief of the Michigan Army National Guard's 125th Infantry Regiment. “We taught them the fundamentals of the M4, M16, and M249 Squad Automatic Weapons, as well as how to efficiently shoot and engage targets.” 

“We are teaching them how to actively engage and safely handle the weapon system by going through components like loading, unloading, engaging, and appropriate sight picture on the weapons,” he added. 

The engagement skills trainer (EST) is an indoor, multi-purpose small arms training simulator designed to replicate weapons training events that lead to live-fire individual and crew weapon qualifications. 

The Liberians expressed their gratitude for the instruction because it was their first time handling these types of weapons. 

Maj. Philemon Silikpoh of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Liberia remarked, "This is our first time utilizing the M-4 weapon, and the soldiers are really thrilled about it." “We are grateful for our partners, and we are grateful for the opportunity to participate in this training.” 

He stated, "This training will make us all better soldiers." 

Michigan and Liberia's relationship will be strengthened through the State Partnership Program, which will improve mutual benefits of increased readiness. 

“It's interesting to collaborate with a different country and discover how we do things differently while attaining the same goals,” Schlief said. “They are truly fantastic troops who are determined and capable, and knowing that I can rely on them and have them on our side makes me feel good.” 

During Northern Strike 21-2 at the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center, Grayling, Michigan, Latvian Special Operation Forces troops execute rappel training from a Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464 CH-53E Super Stallion. 

Northern Strike is a multinational, joint service, multicomponent readiness building exercise that allows units to accomplish training requirements in a compressed two-week period. 

They've also conducted training exercises at Sawyer International Airport in Marquette County and Schuster Field in Ontonagon.

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