IN THE NEWS
Spanish Legionnaire Cpl. Antonio De La Paz De Dios and U.S. Army Sgt. Justin Wallace, shake hands June 8, in Almeria, Spain during African Readiness Training 15. ART 15 is a multinational combined arms exercise running June 1-19. The exercise focuses on developing interoperability and working together as part of a joint force with strategic partners. (U.S. Army Africa photo by Pfc. Craig Philbrick)
By Sgt. Lance Pounds, U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs
ALMERIA, Spain – Even though 1st Lt. Brenton Westbrook hadn’t ever worked with the Spanish Legion he knew initially, there would be challenges to face.
“It’s going to be a learning experience,” said Westbrook.
Westbrook is one of more than 150 Soldiers from U.S. Africa Command’s regionally aligned force, 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, who arrived in Almeria, Spain for African Readiness Training 15.
The exercise runs June 1-19 and brings together the 4-6 INF, troops from the 8th Bandera, 3rd Tercio, 2nd Brigade, Spanish Legion and more than 25 U.S. Marines from the Marine Air-Ground Task Force to work on combined and joint interoperability of forces. The goal is to reduce response times to African security challenges and threats to U.S. and Spanish interests.
The first challenges the group faces won’t be in Africa. They will face many challenges during the exercise and it will be the first time 6th INF has partnered with the Spanish Legion, culminating with the Spanish and U.S. militaries swapping company-sized elements.
Westbrook said the swap of companies is a tactic used to identify their operational strengths and weaknesses.
“This type of training doesn’t happen very often,” said Pvt. Carlos Marrero, a gunner assigned to 4-6 INF. He added the experience gained from comparing how the Legion operates in relation to the Army is valuable knowledge to take back to his unit.
“I want to see how we stack up in comparison to the Legion,” said Sgt. Eli Ferguson, a team leader assigned to 4-6 INF.
According to Maj. Michael Gacheru, U.S. Army Africa operations officer, the exercise enhances trust and mutual understanding with allies, while strategically engaging with partners to deter future conflict and build a capacity to respond globally.