U.S. air advisors train Forces Armées Nigeriennes members

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III
  • 435th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Forces Armées Nigeriennes (Niger Armed Forces) personnel graduated from a small unit tactics and operations course facilitated by U.S. Air Force air advisors during a ceremony at Nigerien Air Base 201, Niger, Feb. 13, 2020.

During the eight-week course, the 409th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron air advisors taught 50 FAN members the skills necessary to operate in a combat environment, better preparing the personnel for situations they could face once deployed to deter violent extremist organizations in the region.

“We want to ensure these students have the tools and the tactics to go out there and do their jobs effectively,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Shawn Simms, 409th ESFS air advisor. “They’ll deploy straight from our training, so we want to make sure that they’re ready. It’s extremely important for them to be able to learn, practice and continually use these skills.”

During the course, the students learned the basics of operating in a combat environment such as mounted and dismounted operations, building clearing, field medical care and taking down hostile personnel.

“This training is really important for them because it helps them to improve, on all levels, their technical and tactical abilities,” said FAN Lt. Salifor Abdoul Razak, FAN Nigerien Air Base 201 liaison officer. “They really learned a lot from this training.”

Before their graduation, the FAN personnel proved their mettle by completing the culminating challenge of the training, a two-day final capstone evaluating their ability to perform the course-taught skills.

“It’s an amazing feeling to come out here and have an impact and know that they actually want to learn this training,” said Simms. “To us it might not seem like a big deal, but they are going to be able to use what they learned here in the future, and it could potentially save their life.”

While this class has been dismissed, the air advisors will begin training their next batch of FAN students in early March.

“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” said Simms.