Dominican Republic Specials
Story and Photos by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Felix A. Figueroa, SOCSOUTH Public Affairs Office
SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC- U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Advisor Group, Marine Special Operations Team-Eight recently provided training to the Dominican Republic Secretary of State Counter Terrorism Armed Forces or SEFA CT, as part of a Joint Combined Exchange Training program.
Aside from learning the basics of marksmanship, SEFA CT were instructed in a myriad of skill sets ranging from advanced light infantry tactics, techniques and procedures to medical first responders. The Marines chosen for this mission are operationally attached to Special Operations Command South and are carefully screened and selected by U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command.
These battle hardened Marines and Sailors, each possess multiple skills aside from their very own occupational specialty and are charged with the responsibility to train, advise and assist friendly host-nation forces, enabling them to support their governments’ inner security and stability, helping prepare for future internal and external threats.
“In order for this training to succeed, it’s crucial to establish a rapport with them immediately, but you have to gain their trust first to help build their confidence, ” said MSOT, Officer in Charge
According to Wilber Dotel, Ensign, Dominican Naval Forces, SEFA CT, trusting this team came easily because he and his men were extremely impressed with the knowledge base, experience and training MSOT-Eight brought with them.
“I know many who don’t agree with the U.S. being in Iraq, but the experience your Marines brought back is extremely beneficial to us on an individual basis and to our country, ” said Dotel
29 year-old Dotel says his country is often times used as a bridge to export contraband and if not addressed, can lead to future problems in terrorism.
“This training helps us directly engage the problems regarding narco-trafficking in our country. Your [logistics] support is immense and extremely valued, and without that, none of this would have been possible, ” Dotel added.