Michigan National Guard Soldiers strengthens State Partnership Program during Northern Strike 21

GRAYLING, Mich.—The Michigan National Guard continues to solidify its State Partnership Program (SPP) relationship with the Armed Forces of the Republic of Liberia during Northern Strike 21.



Soldier from Liberia are at Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center to participate in Michigan National Guard’s Northern Strike 21 Exercise and will make up part of the estimated 5,100 participants from various states and countries. The exercise will be conducted at two locations that make up the National All Domain Warfighting Center (NADWC)—Camp Grayling and the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center.



“We conducted vehicle rollover and weapons training with the Liberian Army today,” said Spc. Noah Schlief, 125 Infantry Regiment, Michigan Army National Guard. “We taught them the main components of the M4, M16, and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, how to fire and engage targets effectively.”



“We are going over aspects of loading, unloading, engaging and proper sight picture on the weapons and teaching them how to actively engage and safely operate the weapon system,” he added.



The weapons training itself was conducted on the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST), which is an indoor, multi-purpose, small arms training simulator used to simulate weapons training events that lead to live-fire individual and crew weapon qualifications.



For the Liberians, this was their first time handling these types of weapons and they expressed their appreciation for the training.



“This is our first time using the M-4 rifle and the soldiers are very happy about it,” said Armed Forces of the Republic of Liberia Maj. Philemon Silikpoh. “We are very thankful for our partners and we are very appreciative for having the opportunity to take part in this training.”



“This training will make us all better soldiers,” he said.



Through the State Partnership Program, Michigan and Liberia’s relationship will strengthen alliances while enhancing mutual benefits of increased readiness.



“It’s nice to work with a different country and learning how we do things differently while achieving desired outcomes,” said Schlief. ““They are really great soldiers who are determined and capable and it makes me feel good knowing I can rely on them and having them on our side.”

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