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U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve

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4th Combat Engineer Battalion returns home from deployment with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa

By Cpl. Tiffany Edwards | 4th Marine Division | January 30, 2014

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CAMP SINGO, Uganda - A Marine with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 13.3 observes and instructs Uganda People’s Defense Force soldiers during the practical application aspect of training aboard Camp Singo, Uganda, Aug. 5, 2013. Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa helps Marine Forces Africa and U.S. Africa Command assist partner nations by conducting security force assistance and military-to-military engagements. (U.S. Marine Corps courtesy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Goiran/Released)

CAMP SINGO, Uganda - A Marine with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 13.3 observes and instructs Uganda People’s Defense Force soldiers during the practical application aspect of training aboard Camp Singo, Uganda, Aug. 5, 2013. Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa helps Marine Forces Africa and U.S. Africa Command assist partner nations by conducting security force assistance and military-to-military engagements. (U.S. Marine Corps courtesy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Goiran/Released) (Photo by Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Goiran)


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CAMP SINGO, Uganda - Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Vanette, a corpsman with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 13.3, gives a class on tactical combat casualty care to Uganda Peoples Defense Force soldiers aboard Camp Singo, Uganda, Aug. 2, 2013. Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa helps Marine Forces Africa and U.S. Africa Command assist partner nations by conducting security force assistance and military-to-military engagements. (U.S. Marine Corps courtesy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Goiran/Released)

CAMP SINGO, Uganda - Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Vanette, a corpsman with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 13.3, gives a class on tactical combat casualty care to Uganda Peoples Defense Force soldiers aboard Camp Singo, Uganda, Aug. 2, 2013. Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa helps Marine Forces Africa and U.S. Africa Command assist partner nations by conducting security force assistance and military-to-military engagements. (U.S. Marine Corps courtesy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Goiran/Released) (Photo by Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Goiran)


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PARKVILLE, Md. – From right to left, Lt. Col. Thomas Marble, commanding officer of 4th Combat Engineer Battalion; Sgt. Maj. Athanasios Verros, sergeant major of 4th CEB; Mrs. Janice Chance, chaplain for the American Gold Star Mothers Maryland chapter; Amy Seeberger, a representative from Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski’s office and Jerome Stephens, a representative from Maryland Senator Ben Cardin’s office; listen to the welcoming remarks at the 4th CEB homecoming celebration in Maryland, Jan. 21, 2014. The Marines deployed to Africa to train foreign militaries in areas including combat marksmanship, combat life saving techniques, logistics, vehicle maintenance and combat engineering, among others. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tiffany Edwards)

PARKVILLE, Md. – From right to left, Lt. Col. Thomas Marble, commanding officer of 4th Combat Engineer Battalion; Sgt. Maj. Athanasios Verros, sergeant major of 4th CEB; Mrs. Janice Chance, chaplain for the American Gold Star Mothers Maryland chapter; Amy Seeberger, a representative from Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski’s office and Jerome Stephens, a representative from Maryland Senator Ben Cardin’s office; listen to the welcoming remarks at the 4th CEB homecoming celebration in Maryland, Jan. 21, 2014. The Marines deployed to Africa to train foreign militaries in areas including combat marksmanship, combat life saving techniques, logistics, vehicle maintenance and combat engineering, among others. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tiffany Edwards) (Photo by Cpl. Tiffany Edwards)


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PARKVILLE, Md. – Sgt. Wayne McDaniel, a motor transport mechanic with 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, and his wife, Katelyn, hold their 3-month-old twins, Loui Gunner and Grey Patriot, at the 4th CEB’s homecoming celebration, Jan. 21, 2014. Marines who were deployed with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 13.3 returned from a six-month deployment training African militaries in many areas, such as combat and logistical operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tiffany Edwards)

PARKVILLE, Md. – Sgt. Wayne McDaniel, a motor transport mechanic with 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, and his wife, Katelyn, hold their 3-month-old twins, Loui Gunner and Grey Patriot, at the 4th CEB’s homecoming celebration, Jan. 21, 2014. Marines who were deployed with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 13.3 returned from a six-month deployment training African militaries in many areas, such as combat and logistical operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tiffany Edwards) (Photo by Cpl. Tiffany Edwards)


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PARKVILLE, Md. -- After spending six months in the mild climes of Italy and the sweltering humidity of Africa, the ice and snow that greeted them in Baltimore was a drastic change for the Marines of 4th Combat Engineer Battalion. The Marines returned home to their families and civilian lives, Jan. 21, 2014. During their deployment, 4th CEB served as the primary element of Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 13.3.

Joined by 32 other Reserve units, 4th CEB trained militaries across the African continent, gained knowledge and expanded their brotherhood of warriors. During their deployment, the unit traveled to Ghana, Mauritania, Uganda, Burundi, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Djibouti. Special-Purpose MAGTF teams provided assistance and training to the African nations in areas such as logistics, counterterrorism, communications, non-lethal weapons training, maritime security force assistance, military planning, small-unit leadership and vehicle maintenance.

“The Marines went down into the continent and trained their host nations in those specific areas, so their militaries could be self-sufficient,” said Sgt. Maj. Athanasios K. Verros, the sergeant major of 4th CEB.

After African partner nations requested training engagements with Marines, the Department of Defense and the U.S. State Department developed Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa in 2011. Not only did the African nations receive their requested training, but soldiers who completed the training cycles with the Marines earn additional certifications and pay raises.

The training also gave service members from all nations the unique opportunity for international networking.

“Our Marines did their best to learn about the country they are deploying to prior to getting there, but a lot of that real education occurs when making friends within the host nation, learning their customs and how they train their soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Marble, commanding officer of 4th CEB.

The new connections contribute to sustaining global diplomatic relations, stabilizing war-torn regions and effectively countering terrorism, Verros added.

Participating in overseas security cooperation is a low-cost, high-impact way for Marines to assist African host nations in addressing their security challenges, Marble said.

“We go there to try to help streamline and professionalize their militaries,” Marble said. “The Marine Corps does very well in leadership and organization and a lot of these countries know our history and seek us out. This gives our Marines a chance to see the differences between how we operate and our host nations’ militaries operate.”

Now the Marines are back home, bringing with them months of experiences to share and develop throughout their military careers and civilian lives.

“We met a lot of good people, and we were able to conduct and be a part of a lot of good training,” said Cpl. Eric Tyree, a data systems technician. “I would definitely go back if given the chance.”
Image4th Combat Engineer Battalion ImageBurundi ImageDjibouti ImageGhana Imagehomecoming celebration ImageMauritania Imagemilitaries ImageSenegal ImageSierra Leone ImageSpecial Purpose MAGTF Africa ImageTrain ImageUganda