Coast Guard Team Teaches Port Security to Zambian Personnel

Vince Crawley
U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs

LUSAKA, Zambia During a late-Febuary course here, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Tobias Dodgen pretended to be a suspicious traveler who claimed he accidently drove up to a government installation while searching for wildlife to photograph.

The students, a mixture of Zambian military personnel, police and security forces, halted Dodgen’s Toyota Land Cruiser, asked him to step out, and searched the vehicle. Asked about his camera equipment and extensive notes he had taken of the area, Dodgen said he was just a tourist and wanted to take pictures of wildlife, especially hippopotamuses.

Then the security forces found a suspicious package hidden in the car — possibly narcotics or a bomb. They placed him under arrest.

“No, I don’t want to go to the police station,” Dodgen protested. “I want to find some hippos.”

Afterward, he and a fellow Coast Guard instructor gathered the students around, reviewed their actions and offered tips on how to improve their tactics. For example, he suggested making sure one member of a security team always stands back, ready to take action if a confrontation develops.

Dodgen was one of three U.S. Coast Guard instructors who conducted the weeklong training course February 25-29 in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city, teaching port security and counter-terrorism tactics to approximately two dozen Zambian military personnel, police and security forces.

Though Zambia is landlocked, one of the country’s important border crossings is on Lake Tanganyika.

“Each course is tailored to a specific country at the request of the U.S. Embassy,” explained Petty Officer 2nd Class Gregory Belkin, of the U.S. Coast Guard’s International Training Division.

The late-February course was the first time the U.S. Coast Guard International Training Division had visited Zambia, but the course was part of an ongoing series of military-to-military programs coordinated through the U.S. Embassy. The training course, requested by the Zambian government, was not organized by the U.S. Africa Command, but is an example of the kind of ongoing U.S. military activities that AFRICOM will coordinate once it becomes a unified command in October 2008. Currently, U.S. military programs on in Africa are coordinated by three separate U.S. regional command headquarters.

The Coast Guard training teams help nations meet maritime safety and security standards so their facilities can meet international certification requirements for trade and cargo. Each year the Coast Guard sends training teams to dozens of countries worldwide.

LUZAKA, Zambia — U.S. Coast Guard instructor Tobias Dodgen pretends to be a suspicious traveler halted by Zambian security personnel during a training course here Feb. 27. Dodgen, a petty officer 2nd class, is part of the Coast Guard's International Training Division, home-based in Yorktown, Virginia. He was one of three Coast Guard instructors who taught a weeklong course in port security to Zambian military and security personnel at the request of the Zambian government and coordinated by the U.S. Embassy. Zambia is landlocked, but one of its important border crossings is on Lake Tanganyika. Each year, the Coast Guard sends training teams to dozens of countries worldwide to provide technical training. (Department of Defense photo Vince Crawley)

LUZAKA, Zambia — U.S. Coast Guard instructor Tobias Dodgen pretends to be a suspicious traveler halted by Zambian security personnel during a training course here Feb. 27. Dodgen, a petty officer 2nd class, is part of the Coast Guard’s International Training Division, home-based in Yorktown, Virginia. He was one of three Coast Guard instructors who taught a weeklong course in port security to Zambian military and security personnel at the request of the Zambian government and coordinated by the U.S. Embassy. Zambia is landlocked, but one of its important border crossings is on Lake Tanganyika. Each year, the Coast Guard sends training teams to dozens of countries worldwide to provide technical training.

Department of Defense photo Vince Crawley)

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