Local News

Fort Bragg Soldiers to Teach Peace in Africa

Posted July 16, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Some of Fort Bragg's finest are heading to Africa. About 60 soldiers from the 18th Airborne Corps and the Special Forces Group will leave for Uganda and Senegal on Friday. If all goes well, this mission will teach African soldiers to keep the peace by putting down their weapons.

We normally think about soldiers fighting a war. But more often, United States soldiers are fighting to keep the peace. Staff Sergeant Robert Parker says the Fort Bragg troops will teach African soldiers to do the same. The training will include basic soldiering tasks that American soldiers often take for granted.

Packing up equipment and food was the order of the day Wednesday. For the next two months, the troops' job will be to train an all African army how to maintain the peace. This training includes how to establish a checkpoint and patrol certain areas.

The gear being packed is not only for the US soldiers to use while training African troops, but to equip the African soldiers as well. Inside the packages are uniforms, canteens, and even first aid kits so that, once the us soldiers leave, African troops can be self-sufficient.

"If a person's hungry, don't give them a fish," says Major Matthew Dansbury. "Teach them how to fish. That's what we're doing. We're actually teaching them how to take care of themselves."

That's just one way the US hopes to keep soldiers like these out of wars, and in the business of peace. Special Forces soldiers helped 30 other countries last year with similar training programs. Fort Bragg leaders say such programs are also helping the US military save money.