A team of 12 experience American soldiers, led by Capt. Stephen Gouthro, were involved in the training of Nigerian infantry for seven weeks in Jaji, Kaduna, Nigeria.
In a chat with reporters, one of the American soldiers, Capt. Aaron Harris briefly revealed what they go through in Jaji.
“We walk over to this big pump and get our own water to flush our toilets since water happens intermittently,”It’s not always a fixed system or anything like that.”
Harris is ordinarily a forward support company commander for the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, New York. But in Kaduna state, Harris uses his logistics background to support a team of 12 U.S. Army Soldiers fulfilling a six-week advise and assist mission in a remote military compound three hours north of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
“We have bed space, plenty of places to sleep,” Harris said. “The food’s great; we hired a local, a spouse of one of the Nigerian army soldiers. She cooks for us, provides us water. We have water, hot meals, beds, and mosquito nets. What more can you ask for?”
Sgt. First Class Saul Rodriguez, is the most experienced of the 12 U.S. Army Soldiers in the remote military compound manufactured to produce the country’s intrepid infantry recruits.
“My job is to train you as much as I can. Your job is to fight the bad guys out of your country,” Rodriguez shouted to a group of Soldiers demonstrating their best cover and concealment efforts behind’s Jaji’s bushes and trees.
“Yes. We are hard on them. We have to be. Their life depends on it,” Staff Sgt. Kevin Martin of the 10th Mountain Division explained after lecturing the 26th on the significance of maintaining noise discipline.
“They might need these skills one day. They face a very real and lethal threat. We aren’t going to slow down, we are going to pack as much training in as possible.”
A small support team traveled to Jaji about four weeks into the mission, flying down from U.S. Army Africa’s headquarters in Italy.
The travelers asked Captain Gouthro if the team had any requests. Historically speaking, soldiers ask for candy, SIM cards or extra soap. Not this team. Gouthro’s priority remained the mission. He asked for a sizeable knife for a graduation gift to give the Nigerian company’s commander and some smokeless tobacco for one of his NCOs.