Thursday, October 6, 2016

Army missions in Africa grow young leaders

Army missions in Africa grow young leaders: After six months in Africa, 1st Lt. Nick Marfongelli and his soldiers had never been fitter or shot straighter.

“We were the best unit we’ve ever been while we were in Africa,” he said. “We had time to sharpen the axe, and we were definitely prepared.”

The soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division logged those high Army Physical Fitness Test and marksmanship scores while serving as the East Africa Response Force. Based at Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, the soldiers were tasked to respond, if called, to crises or threats in 13 countries along the East African front.

“The deployment gave me and my soldiers the opportunity to operate at a much higher level than our peers who didn’t deploy,” Marfongelli said.

The soldiers worked with airmen, Marines and sailors, and trained to respond to a wide range of threats during their August 2015 to February 2016 deployment.

For Marfongelli, it was an experience the 24-year-old never thought he’d get so early in his career.