IN THE NEWS
Col. Peter G. Minalga, commander, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division (right), shows Lt. Col. Rick Komba, U9 directorate lead officer, Tanzania Peoples Defence Force (left), a picture during cultural day at Southern Accord 14, July 20. The U.S. and other partner nations are working together to ensure they have a common ability to conduct peacekeeping and humanitarian support operations throughout Southern Africa. (U.S. Army Africa photo by Capt. Keith E. Thayer)
By Maj. Jason S. Brown, U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs
SALIMA, Malawi – Participants in exercise Southern Accord 14 in Salima, Malawi took a well-earned day off June 21 travelling to the Sunbird Livingstonia Beach for a cultural day.
After five days of non-stop training, planning and writing orders for a fictitious United Nations peacekeeping operation, participants were more than ready to kick-off their shoes and have a good time. The day’s festivities included volleyball, soccer, a bar-b-que, shopping at a local market, and displays of traditional dances from Malawi and neighboring Zambia.
The U.S. Army Africa-executed SA14 exercise is an example of U.S. and African countries training together to contribute to a desired end state of a secure and stable Africa.
In Africa, we communicate through music,” said Lt. Col. M. Ponyane, an Armored Regiment Commander in the Botswana Defense Force. “Even if you don’t understand the words, you can see and feel the stories. I enjoyed comparing Malawian and Botswanan culture.”
For many American Soldiers, this was not only their first time in Africa, but their first time leaving the United States. Such was the case for Pvt. 1st Class Joel J. Gonzalez, communications specialist from 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. “I got to see a lot of things you don’t normally see in the Bronx,” said the New York City native. “I really enjoyed playing soccer with the (Malawian Defense Force) Soldiers. The whole day was amazing.”
After the cultural day, the exercise participants returned to the Malawian Armed Forces College to resume the exercise. The final week will feature a capstone training exercise designed to test the military interoperability and staff cohesion built during the challenging first week.