An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | March 6, 2024

Michigan Guard, Liberia Partner on NCO Academy in West Africa

By Capt. Andrew Layton, Michigan National Guard

MONROVIA, Liberia – Instructors from the Michigan National Guard’s 177th Regional Training Institute assessed an instructor “dry-run” led by the Armed Forces of Liberia Feb. 19 to March 4 as the West African nation edges closer to standing up its own Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

The instructors convened at Camp Ware, Liberia, home of the AFL’s Armed Forces Training Command, to refine their curriculum development, administration and presentation skills. At follow-on meetings at Barclay Training Center in central Monrovia, Brig. Gen. Davidson Forleh, AFL chief of staff, thanked the U.S. instructors for exchanging knowledge with AFL counterparts.

“You could take the instructors from the AFL right now and run a professional military education course anywhere in the world,” said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Brian Brace, State Partnership Program desk officer for the Michigan National Guard. “The Liberian instructors are passionate, knowledgeable and invested; they believe in what they are doing.”

Michigan and Liberia have partnered for 15 years under the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau SPP. The AFL was completely rebuilt after a devastating civil war ended in 2003. For this “new” AFL, developing a self-sufficient NCO Academy has been a long-term goal.

U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Derren Mazza, an instructor with the 177th RTI, began working with the AFL instructors in late 2022.

“From my first visit here 18 months ago, the AFL instructors have come light-years from where they started,” Mazza said. 

The AFL’s motto is “A Force for Good.” During 10 years of support, from 2013 to 2023, the Liberian military lived up to this creed for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali. The AFL gained a reputation for adhering to human rights and the law of war, ideals the U.S. government has worked hard to embed into Liberia’s military institutions. The Michigan National Guard played a role in Liberia’s Security Sector Reform through the U.S. AFRICOM-sponsored Operation Onward Liberty.

“Michigan and Liberia have come a long way together; even after 15 years, this partnership continues to show its value,” said AFL Command Sgt. Maj. Cooper Manqueh. “We thank our partners for helping us develop tools for building strong NCOs because the NCO corps is the backbone of a strong army.”

In their meetings with AFL leadership, the 177th RTI instructors also presented several courses of action to launch the AFL’s first Basic Leader Course at Camp Ware. As the AFL’s NCO Academy gains momentum, the facility has the long-term potential to become a regional hub for enlisted professional military education in West Africa.

AFL 1st Sgt. Austin Doe, an AFTC instructor, said the vision for the AFL’s NCO Academy is clear: “We’re refining today’s NCOs to be the leaders of tomorrow,” he said.

 

 

Related Articles
The build-up of Omaha Beach. Reinforcements of men and equipment moving inland. Photo courtesy of Center of Military History.
80 Years Ago, National Guard Units Played Key Role in D-Day Landings
By Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy, | June 5, 2024
ARLINGTON, Va. – Their waterlogged footsteps were historic. That thought, however, most likely wasn’t on the Soldiers minds as they stepped ashore from rocking landing craft onto the French coast. Instead, the focus for most...

Members of the Armed Forces of Liberia conducted a mass casualty exercise scenario with partners from the Michigan National Guard at 14 Military Hospital May 23, 2024, in Dauzon, Liberia. The two are partners under the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program.
Michigan Guard, Liberia Conduct Casualty Response Exercise
By Capt. Andrew Layton, | May 30, 2024
DAUZON, Liberia – A joint team of Michigan Army and Air National Guard medical professionals worked with Armed Forces of Liberia staff to create a preliminary mass casualty response plan for the AFL’s 14 Military...

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general, Michigan National Guard, left, with Armed Forces of Liberia Maj. Gen. Prince C. Johnson III, AFL’s chief of staff; and Latvian National Armed Forces Brig. Gen. Imants Ziedins, LNAF’s deputy chief of defense, in Monrovia, Liberia, Feb. 9, 2022. The Michigan Guard is partners with Liberia and Latvia under the State Partnership Program.
Common goals strengthen Michigan National Guard-Latvia-Liberia relationship
By Capt. Joe Legros, | March 29, 2022
MONROVIA, Liberia – Situated 700 miles south of Africa’s Sahara Desert and 435 miles north of the equator, Monrovia rarely dips below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a sub-Saharan beachside paradise teeming with lush green fauna...