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News | June 5, 2023

U.S. Army Reserve civil support team builds capacity with Tunisian partners

By Staff Sgt. Jessica Forester 7th Mission Support Command

The 773rd Civil Support Team, 7th Mission Support Command, partnered with the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Reconnaissance Team, 61st Engineering Group, of the Tunisian Armed Forces to share practices and increase interoperability May 15 – 31, 2023, in Bizerte, Tunisia.

The 773rd is a highly-specialized U.S. Army Reserve asset and the only one of its kind in the U.S. Army Europe – Africa theater. The two partner nations completed academic lessons and field training scenarios, crucial to the development of their technical knowledge and skills as the TAF establishes their CBRN program.

“We are training with our Tunisian partners, building their CBRN capacity by integrating their medical and EOD teams with their CBRN forces,” said Capt. Shawna So, the 773rd’s Survey Team Leader. “We run through two training lanes per day, training for radiological events as well as chemical and biological scenarios.”

In addition to sharing response process and strategies, the two partner nations collaborated on the operation of a variety of detection equipment and personal protective equipment, expanding their understanding of tools they may see in the field.

“Walking other CBRN soldiers through our processes helps us gain better understanding of our strategies,” said So. “This is a great opportunity for my team to exercise our advise and assist role.”

African Lion 23 provides an opportunity for this specialized unit to train and educate Tunisian partners, improving their security and enabling them to better protect their borders, complementing increased security measures already implemented by the Tunisian Armed Forces. The 7th Mission Support Command and the U.S. Army Reserve is integral in providing capable units of action in support of USAEUR-AF missions across the theater and to the Army across the globe.

The U.S. conducts unilateral military operations, therefore, we must train as members of a combined team with our partners. By training together, the U.S. military, our Allies, and partners, get the repetitions we need to fight and win together on the modern-day battlefield. 18 nations and approximately 8,000 personnel will participate in African Lion 2023, U.S. Africa Command's largest annual combined, joint exercise that will take place in multiple countries to include Tunisia from May 13 – Jun. 18, 2023.