Liberian Troops Return from Successful Completion of Northern Strike Training in the US

The AFL troops, headed by the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia Brig/Gen. Geraldine George, departed the country last month to participate in the annual war simulation training exercise, hosted by the Michigan National Guard.

Personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) who recently participated in the annual war simulation training exercise known as Northern Strike have returned to the country, following their successful participation.

According to a release from the Ministry of National Defense, the troops headed by the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia Brig/ Gen. Geraldine George departed the country last month to  participate in the annual war simulation training exercise, hosted by the Michigan National Guard, in the state of Michigan, the United States of America.

The AFL personnel were drawn from the AFL'S Quick Reaction Platoon and are expected to be deployed in the Republic of Mali as part of the United  Nations Mission in that West African country.

The Liberian troops were among military personnel from the United States, United Kingdom, Latvia and Taiwan.

Receiving the troops at the Roberts International Airport, Assistant Defense Minister for Press and  Public Affairs Sam Collins expressed joy over the successful return and participation of the Armed Forces of Liberia personnel in the training exercise, stressing that the recent training has added more value to the Armed Forces of Liberia.

He lauded the government and people of the United States of America, especially the Michigan National Guard, for its continuous support to the AFL. 

Assistant Defense Minister Collins emphasized that the AFL’s continual participation in Northern Strike will enhance its Operational Capabilities. “This will also help Liberia to have mission-ready troops prior to deployment in United Nations Multinational Integration Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).”

Northern Strike is executed in complex field conditions designed to simulate a realistic wartime environment, demonstrates the ability to provide accessible readiness-building opportunities for military units of all service branches to achieve and sustain proficiency in conducting Mission Command, Air, Sea and Ground Maneuver Integration, together with synchronization of fires in joint, multinational and Decisive Action Environment.

The training area consists of Camp Grayling Maneuver Training Center and Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center: 148,000 acres of maneuver space and more than 17,000 square miles of special-use airspace. The yearly training exercise simulates “a realistic wartime environment” and focuses on expeditionary skills, command and control, sustainment and joint-integrated fires.

“This exercise serves as a great opportunity for our multicomponent, multinational, and interagency partners to develop into efficient, joint warfighters,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and director of the DMVA. “Training like we may be called on to fight is critical in preparing to confront a near-peer adversary in the future.”

The Republic of Liberia/AFL and the State of Michigan/the Michigan National Guard signed a State Partnership Program in 2010 after Operation Onward Liberty (OOL) successfully ended its mission in Liberia.

The Ministry of National Defense and Liberian Military enjoy a harmonious relationship with the Michigan National Guard that has provided several training opportunities through Mobile Training Team (MTT) and Training Contact Team (TCT) for Liberia military and civilian personnel; and infrastructural development like the construction of the multipurpose building at EBK Barracks.
Major General Gregory J. Vadnais (Rtd) Adjutant General and Director of Military and Veteran Affairs of Michigan played a crucial road in establishing and nurturing the partnership between the AFL and the Michigan National Guard.

The Michigan National Guard began hosting Northern Strike in 2012. The program includes exercises that require units from different military branches, and even different countries, to work together in complex, time-sensitive scenarios.