Special Operations News

Partnering with South African Special Forces

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Soldiers from U.S. Army Africa and the U.S. Army Ranger Training Brigade got a taste of South African Special Forces (SASF) training during a recent visit to South Africa. Senior SASF leaders invited the American soldiers to discuss the development of a course for junior leaders, according to a news release April 9, 2009.

Command Sergeant Major Earl Rice and Staff Sergeant Christopher Upp represented U.S. Army Africa during the visit. The U.S. soldiers were looking for a better understanding of SASF NCOs. From there, planning can begin to develop programs to strengthen their NCO capacity through interaction with mentors from U.S. Army Africa and U.S. Army Rangers.

“They are looking for ways to develop junior leaders within their units,” said Rice, who is a trained Army Ranger. “Ranger training exemplifies the best in leadership development. Many of the skills Rangers learn could be adopted for this purpose.”

SASF leaders recently attended a U.S. Army Ranger School graduation. After seeing how Ranger professionalism is combined with technical and tactical proficiency, they invited the U.S. soldiers to South Africa.

While in South Africa, Rice and Sergeant Major Erik Wilson from the Ranger Training Brigade met with SASF Command Sergeant Major Visinkosi Gogo, to talk about the way ahead for SASF NCOs and future partnership.

U.S. soldiers toured SASF training sites, observing tactical demonstrations and the regiment’s survival school. They also had a chance to interact with SASF NCOs, building a rapport for future partnerships.

“They are clearly part of a motivated and professional organization that sees itself as the standard bearer of the South African National Defense Force and the region as a whole,” Rice said. “They understand the importance of leadership development and are eager to implement new programs to improve their NCO corps.”


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