Last week, my PSD was tasked with training up some of the Ugandan security guards that work on a couple of the local FOBs. They work in the towers and entry control points (ECPs), as well as guard the entrances to places like the chow halls and PX's. The idea is to free up U.S. forces to do warfighting stuff, so we employ what we call TCNs, or third country nationals to do those things.
I don't know the details, but the security company that was here when we arrived were replaced a couple of weeks later by the company we trained, which is called SOC. Somebody thought the SOC guys could use a little extra training, which is where me and my boys came in.
The SOC guys are mostly former Ugandan military. Most of them speak very proper English. Many are very well spoken and speak with a slight British accent. As a whole, they were very eager and motivated, and seemed thrilled to be taught by American soldiers. Most called me "Mistah Jack," with a crisp English "Sah!" thrown in for good measure.
The SOC guards make about $500 a month, which is typical for TCN security guards these days. They work 12 hour shifts, which average out to about 14-15 hours between weapon and equipment draw, guard mount, and transport to and from their posts. They work seven days a week, no days off.
They were very well disciplined and from what I saw, your average U.S. infantry company could take a lesson from them in Drill & Ceremony...although they do that funny little British kick-hop when they do facing movements.
They were very friendly and outgoing almost without exception. Most of them had Western first names. Many had a Biblical ring: James, Peter, Israel, Moses were pretty popular. I met two guys named Edison, although they both insisted it was pronounced "Edson."
The Ugandans aren't used to the cool Iraqi winter weather. They wore jackets, sweaters, and knit caps even in the daytime, and insisted it was "too cold" even when it hit the 60's. They are gonna love it here come July.
When being addressed by a superior, the Ugandan military teaches their soldiers to come to strict attention, and to raise up on their toes if speaking with someone of very high rank or position. The SOC guards were very polite and respectful to all of my guys.
The classes were pretty basic. Some of the stuff we covered was radio procedures and spot reports;
care and feeding of the PKM machine gun;
likewise the venerable AK47;
as well as use of force and rules of engagement. One thing we quickly noticed was that most of the Ugandans don't really shoulder a weapon. They tend to sort of chicken wing it, tucking it under their arm and pointing it in the general direction of their target, like this fellow.
With a little work, we were able to get most of them to shoulder and aim properly. I wonder if we have upset the balance of power in eastern Africa by teaching these guys how to use sights?
After a few days, we finished up, and had a little ceremony to award them their training certificates.
Here we are doing the grip-and-grin. The Ugandans do a funky little handshake. It goes from regular handshake to cool brother-man handshake straight out of 1979, and back to the regular. As as sign of respect, they generally will grasp their right elbow with their left hand as they shake, although none of the disrespectful bastards you see here are doing it.
And here is a highly trained, justifiably proud young man with his high speed training certificate. Now all he has to do is write his name in and frame it up on his I-love-me wall.
U Gan Do It!