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US troops end Liberian mission

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A US military troop from the Michigan National Guard coded Operation Onward Liberty or OOL has concluded six years of mentoring and advising Liberia’s army, more than a month after UN Peacekeepers officially handed full national security responsibilities over to authorities here.

At the official ceremony marking the OOL closeout program held at the Barclay Training Center or BTC Thursday in Monrovia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said one of the peace that Liberia enjoys to day was the rebuilding of the Armed Forces of Liberia or AFL.

Under the command of Nigerian generals, President Sirleaf recalled that the AFL received capacity training, support from Africa Command and other Units of the US Army and Navy, including the Michigan National Guard.

As a result of the many support and training the AFL has received, President Sirleaf said Liberia is proud of the army, and the supporters can also be proud of it, as she thanked US Amb. Christine Ann Elder and the US Government for its continued support to the army.

Operation Onward Liberty has been mentoring and advising the AFL in building a professional army that is answerable to civilian authority. OOL was officially chartered in 2010; and the personnel who formed that first mission built a strong partnership as they worked with their Liberian counterparts in the newly formed Armed Forces of Liberia.

Subsequent teams built on this foundation by training the AFL in a wide variety of skills, from basic infantry tactics to staff operations. The initial teams were comprised of U.S. Marines, Army, and Air Force personnel.

Since 2014 the Michigan National Guard has served as the OOL partner. During the last deployment, known as OOL 16, the advisors were specifically charged with mentoring the Joint Staff of the AFL headquarters.

Their key objectives included increasing the effectiveness of the National Military Response Center; enhancing the Joint Staff’s capacity to man, equip, and train forces; establishing a functional noncommissioned officer support channel; assisting with the AFL Engineer Battalion and Explosive Ordnance Disposal activation plans and improving AFL medical readiness and health care system development.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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