Monthly Archives: October 2010

Another Great Day at AUSA.

U.S. Army Africa at AUSA

U.S. Army Africa at AUSA

I had quite a day today. So many people came by the U.S. Army Africa exhibit. From the time I arrived until the time I left, we experienced a steady stream of visitors. GEN William E. “Kip” Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, stopped by and toured the USARAF exhibit. MG David Hogg, the USARAF commander, was on hand to greet him.

Other visitors to our exhibit had questions upon questions about who we are and what we do as U.S. Army Africa. Our smallest visitor of the day was a little girl about six years old. She and her dad came by to learn a little about what we do in Africa. Sfc. Roddy Rieger answered all of hers questions and event gave her a USARAF “passport.” All in a day’s work at AUSA.

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AUSA 2010


AUSA 2010

Originally uploaded by US Army Africa

Staff Sgt. Rosemary Hernandez, U.S. Army Africa Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, takes a ‘passport photo’ of a visitor to the command’s display at the Association of the U.S. Army exposition in Washington, D.C., Oct. 25, 2010.

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at AUSA in Washington, D.C.

This is my (Maj. Junel Jeffrey) first time at the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) annual meeting. I’ve never experienced something like this before. There are so many people at this event! I’ve met quite a few people who are not aware of SETAF’s transformation to U.S. Army Africa. I’m briefing people about our mission, where we are located and how they can learn more about our team.

One thing that’s for sure is everyone can clearly see our booth from all directions. I asked a guard to look over her shoulder and tell me what she sees. She said, “I don’t see anything but that U.S. Army Africa sign. That’s what I see when I look over there.” Priceless.

I’ve spoken with everyone from ROTC cadets and newly commissioned lieutenants to senior military leaders and retirees. I’ve had much of the same reaction: surprise about the command’s existence and interest in the mission. I hope our being here at the AUSA annual meeting will change that.

The “passports” are simply a hit! People love the takeaway command information included in the U.S. Army Africa Passport Booklet. They also enjoy having their photo taken with the Venetian Grand Canal or African safari background.

We’ve had stead visitors today. I wonder what will happen tomorrow. More to follow!

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Practicing basic emergency response to save lives at Dil Chora Hospital, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, Oct. 15, 2010

A cadre of 23 nurses from the Dil Chora Hospital, many with up to 20 years of practical experience, attended a week-long Emergency Medical Technician course here Oct. 15.

The first-ever course of its kind resulted from a partnership between Dr. Manyazewal Dessie, the senior orthopedic surgeon at Dil Chora Hospital, Soldiers of the U.S. Army 418th Civil Affairs Battalion, Company C, and Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7.

The curriculum was approved by the hospital to meet its standards and consisted of basic life saving skills, blood and shock management, patient movement, respiratory and cardiovascular emergencies, and defibrillation. The primary focus of the week was hands-on practice of Cardiovascular Pulmonary Resuscitation as well as patient and trauma assessment.

“It emphasized how simple maneuvers, or just attempting CPR, can decrease the amount of casualties that are suffered at the hospital,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Heather Watts, a SeaBee with NMCB 7. “It’s not until we go back and review the basics . . . that they come back to us and helps us remember proper technique.”

The Ethiopian Ministry of Health has designated the Dil Chora Hospital as its future command and control center for area emergencies. With rising numbers of automobile accidents becoming the lead cause of trauma, more nurses will need to be confident in EMT maneuvers, said Dr. Manyazewal.

“The gap that these nurses have is handling trauma cases,” Dr. Manyazewal said. “In Ethiopia it is customary to wait for the diagnosis of the senior doctor before any treatment starts.”

The “golden hour” in the United States, the 60 minutes between when a patient is found and arrives at a medical facility for treatment, can stretch out to 6-8 hours in Ethiopia because of difficulties in transportation, Manyazewal said. A case becomes complicated by the time a doctor can see the patient and give the nurses directions, so if the nurses apply EMT techniques with confidence, the patient can be stabilized the moment he or she arrives in the general surgical ward, notwithstanding the absence of the senior doctor.

“This course will help us start treatment as the patient arrives,” said Mihret Getachew, a surgery ward coordinator with five years of experience. “If the patient starts to gasp, we will have more hope because we now know what we can do.”

“I appreciate these topics,” said Dr. Manyazewal. “It will greatly help the quality of care in this hospital.”

The nurses marked the end of the course with a coffee ceremony for the U.S. lecturers.

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Uganda railways assessment 2010

Railways, the technology that transformed Europe and America in the 19th century, may yet play a significant role in the future economic development of Uganda.

Two U.S. Army logisticians, John Hanson from U.S. Army Africa’s G-4 Programs and Policy Branch, and Lloyd Coakley, from the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command’s Transportation Engineering Agency, conducted a four-day assessment of Ugandan railway infrastructure Sept. 13-17 at the request of the Uganda People’s Defense Force’s Engineer Brigade.

The mission was to determine the current operational status of the Uganda railway system and its rolling stock, to assess the capability of UPDF personnel to rehabilitate the network, and to identify potential sites for training and repair operations. USARAF and SDDC were invited to contribute their expertise by Brig. Gen. Timothy Sabiiti, commander of the Uganda People’s Defense Force’s Engineer Brigade, Hanson said.

“He’s been charged with assisting in the rehabilitation of the railways. It would have a very positive economic impact, including natural resource development. It’s a five-year plan, a complete rehabilitation of the railroad. That’s why they’re doing it. It’s all civil development, but the railroad would be used by the military, too. It would enhance their mobility,” Hanson said.

Ugandan assessment team members included Engineer Murungi Daudi, Brig. Gen. George Etyang, Nakaliika Rahmat, Lt. Col. Luke Arikosi, and Engineer Kyamugambi Kasingye. Hanson, Coakley, and their Ugandan hosts, accompanied by a representative of the U.S. Embassy in Kampala, assessed the railroad stations and infrastructure in Jinja, Tororo, Mbale, Kumi, Soroti, Lira and Gulu. They also toured the Nalukolongo Railway Repair Facility in Kampala, he said.

“It’s a significant percentage of the railroad, the majority of the rail lines. We saw almost the entire rail line that has not been completely abandoned,” Hanson said.

The assessment team found the condition of the Ugandan system to vary greatly by region. The railway is still fully functional and operating in the Jinja-Tororo area, Hanson said. Tororo is the easternmost link on the line before it crosses into Kenya, heading for the coast at Mombasa.

As the team progressed north, however, damaged rails were common place, and track along the western section, from Gulu to Pakwach, is in general disrepair, a result of the area being for years under control of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

“It’s been pretty much abandoned since then,” Hanson said.

Nonetheless, the Ugandan-American team could clearly see the potential for future reconstruction.

“The Ugandan government and the UPDF are committed to returning their railway system to a fully operational status. SDDC and USARAF can assist in this effort to help build capacity, not only in Uganda, but eventually throughout the region,” Coakley said.

“It was great to partner with another Army Service Component Command on the continent,” said Hanson. “The engineers from SDDC have a lot of experience and expertise that can assist USARAF in finding solutions to the transportation and mobility issues we face throughout most of Africa.”

The railroads came to East Africa just before the turn of the 20th century, in the hey-day of European colonial expansion, and England and Germany in particular were in competition to build systems to extract the natural resources of what are today Kenya and Uganda. Beginning in the 1890s, both countries undertook mammoth engineering projects to build railroads from the Indian Ocean coast to Lake Victoria in the interior.

The development had profound economic and demographic impacts on the entire region. The influx of workers from British India to build the railways resulted in thriving Indian diaspora communities in both present day Uganda and Kenya; the growth of rail construction centers and nodes stimulated the establishment of such urban centers as Kisumu (then called Port Florence) and Nairobi, both in Kenya.

The Ugandan rail line finally reached Kampala in 1931. The northern branch, beginning in Tororo, was extended to Soroti by 1929 and reached Pakwach only in 1964.

The presently serviceable rolling stock consists of approximately 1,000 wagons and 35 diesel hydraulic locomotives, said Hanson, and though activity has been dormant in some areas for decades, and clearly in need of rehabilitation, the Ugandan system holds great promise for the future.

“SDDC has produced numerous studies on African seaports and infrastructure in the past. USARAF needs to synchronize our efforts with SDDC as they identify future locations to conduct their analyses,” Hanson said.

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Army Ten-Miler 2010


Army Ten-Miler 2010

Originally uploaded by US Army Africa

For 25 years, tens of thousands of runners and spectators come to Washington, D.C., to participate in a race classic.

Two, four-member teams from U.S. Army Africa joined the road race and outperformed a majority of participating teams in the 2010 Army 10-Miler. The Active Duty Men (Commander’s Cup) team outran 90 percent of their rivals, placing 50th of the nearly 700 military and civilian teams vying for team titles.

The U.S. Army Africa women’s team placed 218th, outrunning nearly 75 percent of all women’s teams. The combined time of the men’s team was 4 hours, 18 minutes and 44 seconds; the women’s team total was 5: 14:8.

“Many members of our team improved their overall time from previously established records and represented the command in an outstanding manner,” said U.S. Army Africa running team coach, Osvaldo Del Hoyo. “They trained well as a team and, this morning, they proved it.”

Army Africa’s fastest runner was Adolph Dubose, who finished with a time of 1:0:10 seconds, meeting a pace of ten, back-to-back, six-minute-miles. A close second was Jason Marshall, running the course in 1:3:1.

“Yes, I’m happy with my run this morning,” Marshall said. “I improved my time compared to last year.”

The command’s fastest woman was Rosemary Hernandez with a time of 1:17:41. On her heels, finishing a mere two seconds later, was Amanda Miller.

The 10-mile road race is the third largest in the world and is the U.S. Army’s premier running event. The race course begins and ends at the Pentagon, after running through the nation’s capitol. Military and civilian runners come from around the world to take part in this annual tradition.

Produced by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, the Army Ten-Miler has become a world-renowned event drawing 30,000 runners annually.

Proceeds support Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation, a comprehensive network of support and leisure services designed to enhance the lives of soldiers and their families.

The race starts and finishes at the Pentagon, passing by such D.C. landmarks as the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Capitol.

Interesting 2010 race facts:

30,000 registered runners – Started in 1985, there were merely 1,379 runners.
2010 race sold out in 35 hours; 2009 race sold out in 6 days.
769 teams registered to run.
Runners come from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
52 percent of runners are men, 48 percent are women.
63 percent of runners are Active Duty, Reserve, Guard, Retired Military, Veterans, Military family dependents or DoD employees.
75 percent of runners are from the greater Washington, D.C., region.
More than 1,200 Soldiers and civilians supported the race as volunteers.
More than 10 locations overseas hosted a Shadow Run with more than 4,000 runners.
The Army Ten-Miler supported races at Bagram Airfield, Camp Phoenix, FOB Union III and Joint Base Balad.
The mission of the Army Ten-Miler is for the Military District of Washington to safely conduct the Army’s annual 10-mile race to promote the Army, build esprit de corps, support fitness goals, and enhance community relations.

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Training to compete in South Africa 2010

Five New York Army National Guard Soldiers who will represent the U.S. Army at a military skills competition in South Africa next month conducted a one-day training session at the New York National Guard Guilderland Weekend Training Site Oct. 15.

Five Soldiers and two alternates from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry, based at the Gloversville Armory, will compete The Soldiers are: Sgt. 1st Class Troy Mechanic, Sgt. 1st Class Miguel Orabona, Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Dorvee, Spc. David Hanson, Pvt. 1st Class Michael Ellsworth, Sgt. Justin Vonderhyde, and Sgt. Thomas Myers.

The Soldiers conducted familiarization fire on weapons similar to those they will use at the South African Military Skills Competition. It was their only opportunity to train before the competition, which will be held Nov. 8-14 in in Potchefstroom, South Africa Potchefstroom, South Africa.

The New York Army National Guard routinely conducts bilateral training opportunities and service member exchanges with the South African National Defense Force as part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program, which pairs a U.S. National Guard with a developing nation’s military. New York has been partnered with South Africa since 2005.

The South African Military Skills Competition brings members of the reserve forces of South Africa and other nations together in a friendly competition that also serves as a training venue.

Other nations sending five-member teams to the event will be the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Canada and Tanzania. Each team will consist of four competitors and a coach.

Soldiers will be judged on their ability with the South African R4 rifle and the Star pistol, negotiating land- and water-obstacle courses, grenade throwing and an eight-kilometer cross country run.

Competitors will wear swim trunks for the water-obstacle task, running clothes for the eight-kilometer race and combat gear for the other sections of the competition.

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