Monthly Archives: December 2010

Christmas dinner with the boss, Djibouti, December 2010

U.S. Army Gen. William “Kip” Ward, U.S. Africa Command commander (left), promotes 1st Lt. Jason Dickey, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 137th Infantry Regiment, Kansas Army National Guard, to the rank of captain during a holiday visit Dec. 25, to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.

Ward along with Sgt. Maj. Mark Ripka, AFRICOM senior enlisted leader, visited troops stationed at Camp Lemonnier for the holidays, greeting soldiers, sailors and airmen, participating in a promotion ceremony, and serving Christmas dinner.



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USARAF Commander visits Algeria December 2010

U.S. Army Africa’s commanding general met with Algerian military and government leaders in Algiers Dec. 5-7.

Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg discussed bilateral relations and regional issues, toured the Algerian Central Military Museum and met with reporters for a free-ranging press conference before returning to USARAF headquarters in Vicenza, Italy.

Accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Algiers, the Hon. David Pearce, and members of the American country team, Hogg met with Maj. Gen. Ahcene Tafer, land forces commander of the People’s National Army (ANP); Mohamed Kamel Rezag Bara, presidential adviser on counterterrorism; Maj. Gen. Ahmed Senhadji, secretary general of the Ministry of Defense; and Brig. Gen. Rachid Saoudi, commander of ANP special forces; said Lt. Col. Philip Archer, U.S. Army Africa’s North African regional desk officer.

Hogg took the opportunity to clarify USARAF’s missions and dispel erroneous perceptions during a press conference Dec. 6 with Algerian and international media.

“This is my first trip to Algeria, and I’m here to meet with the leadership of the land forces and to develop a relationship, and to discuss some of the future training opportunities that both of our nations can do together,” Hogg said.

He mentioned upcoming joint Algerian-American reconnaissance and counter-IED training possibilities, and a future visit by Algerian soldiers to the United States to investigate how the Army integrates its lessons learned center into its training regime.

“A lot of mutual discussions and a lot of mutual benefits this year,” he said.

Hogg went into some detail to explain what U.S. Army Africa is, its place in the overall U.S. military, and the context of its operations in Africa.

“Let me explain a little bit about what U.S. Army Africa does. It’s one of these headquarters that a lot of people don’t know anything about, to include some of the people I talk to in the U.S. military,” he said.

Hogg clarified that USARAF is an Army component command with its headquarters in Vicenza, Italy, and is the land forces component of U.S. Africa Command, led by Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.

“It is strictly a headquarters. That means I have a staff and personnel that do headquarters-type business. I have no assigned forces, which means I do not have combat forces assigned to my headquarters,” Hogg said.

“Our primary mission here on the continent of Africa is what we refer to as theater security cooperation. In other words, we come at the request and the permission of the sovereign countries here in Africa to train, to work with, to cooperate on a variety of areas — from just basic command-post exercises to doing humanitarian- and disaster relief-type events — the whole realm.

“But we come only if a nation says, ‘Hey, we’d like to do some work with you, we’d like to partner with the U.S. Army forces.’

“And the other piece that’s very important is that we are in support of the embassies. So we do not do anything on our own, unilaterally. We work with the countries and we work with the embassy, and that’s really what our mission set is.”

Hogg responded in the negative when asked whether USARAF had established or was in the process of establishing bases in Algeria or the region.

“I think the question you’re trying to ask is: Do we have any bases here in Algeria? And the answer is: No, we don’t have any bases here,” he said

Hogg responded as well to a number of questions regarding security and counterterrorism activity in the Sahel region.

“As you know, this is a regional issue, where Algerian land forces have taken a leadership role, and it’s very impressive, the progress that’s been made,” he said.

He described the current status of counter-terrorism in the Sahel as a work in progress. “And with the leadership of the Algerian land forces and the work that they’re doing down there for coordination, there’s progress being made,” Hogg said.

He was asked about whether counter-terrorism training is part of the Algerian-American land forces relationship.

“Our support and assistance is based on request from sovereign countries, and it’s really in a training piece, so that kind of flows into your counter-terrorism training,” he said.

The general was asked whether USARAF, or AFRICOM, is planning to establish a headquarters on the African continent proper, and took the opportunity to dispel that lingering notion.

“There is no decision, no desire to move the AFRICOM headquarters. I mean, Gen. Ward’s been pretty clear on that: He wants to get beyond that and just get into the mission. As far as my headquarters goes — Vicenza, Italy: that’s where we’re at, that’s where we’re going to stay.

“Which means we do a lot of travel to make the mission happen — but that’s OK.

“So there are no plans now, in the future or in the past to move AFRICOM into the continent . . . and that’s really where we’re at at this stage. We’re more interested in getting on with our mission of cooperation and helping with security and stability on the continent.

“The bottom line is: continued engagement and agreement as far as some of the future activities that are planned, and the potential for future exercises here in Algeria. And so it’s very productive and very enjoyable. I’ve enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to coming back.”

Hogg returned to Vicenza Dec. 7. The visit strengthened the overall relationship between the Algerian and American land forces, said Archer.

“They value the growing partnership with the U.S. military. They are a very modern military and we have much to learn from them,” he said.

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South African SPP 2010

South African SPP 2010

Originally uploaded by US Army Africa

Maj. Gen. Roy Andersen, South African National Defence Force Reserves Chief, wanted to learn from a really professional organization, so he brought his staff to visit the New York National Guard Dec. 4-6.

“We are looking to take away the lessons you have learned, so we do not have to relearn them; so we can do things better, and maybe we can identify a few areas where we think we do it better,” he said.

A six-officer delegation, which visited sites in the Albany and New York City areas, was particularly interested in learning about the New York Guard’s family support and employer support programs.

“We know these are good and they work,” Andersen said.

U.S. Army Africa was represented by Brig. Gen. Isaac G. Osborne Jr., USARAF Deputy Commander, who is also Assistant Adjutant General of the Tennessee Army National Guard.

The three-day visit started Dec. 4 with briefings on subjects such as family readiness programs, efforts to keep employers supportive, New York National Guard missions and reintegration programs.

The team visited Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, New York, Dec. 5. The base is home to the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard, the only wing in the U.S. military that flies C-130 transport aircraft equipped with skies that enable landings on snow or ice.

Dec. 6 the South Africans visited the New York National Guard’s standing security force in New York City, Joint Task Force Empire Shield. The team inspected the quarters of the 24th Civil Support Team, a unit specially trained to identify chemical, biological and radiological weapons. They also had an opportunity to observe personnel providing security at transportation hubs in Manhattan.

“The New York National Guard did an outstanding job by providing requested relevant information to the current challenges of the South African military,” Osborne said.

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World AIDS Day 2010, Windhoek, Namibia

Col. Jonathan McGraw, U.S. Army Africa’s command chaplain, and Lt. Col. Clyde Scott, deputy command chaplain, stood alongside their chaplain counterparts to gain a better understanding of how the Namibia Defence Force commemorates World AIDS Day. More than 1,000 Namibian soldiers and civilians took part in the celebration.

“We appreciate the positive impact of our joint efforts in the Namibian military,” said Adrienne Fuentes, coordinator for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in remarks made during the ceremony on behalf of the U.S. Mission in Namibia.

“I applaud the leadership of the Namibian military for your robust leadership where stigma and discrimination is strongly discouraged, and where people who are living openly with HIV are supported without any discrimination,” Fuentes said.

McGraw said his Unit Ministry Team’s close relationship with the Namibian chaplains is an essential part of sharing experiences and techniques to counsel soldiers and families from a spiritual perspective.

“Facing the challenges of AIDS, the Namibian Defence Force has established an impressive commander-led, community-based, chaplain-integrated program that is working,” McGraw said. “I was very impressed with the number of Namibian soldiers lined up to voluntarily test their HIV status during the World AIDS Day event. It was three to four times what was experienced in past years.”

The U.S. chaplains World AIDS Day participation follows a previous visit to Namibia in which the ministry team led a seminar about counseling soldiers and family members about the impact of HIV/AIDS.

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Burkina Faso ADAPT 2010

Some cool photos just in from Burkina Faso ~

U.S. Army Africa logisticians, Capt. Daniel King and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Terry Throm, conducted the first phase of an Africa Deployment Assistance Partnership Team (ADAPT) class July 26-30, 2010, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Thirty-one officers, noncommissioned officers and civilians, from all of Burkina Faso’s Defense Forces, received instruction on the role of movement officers, deployment preparation, seaport operations, airport operations, rail operations, movement planning and hazardous material handling.

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Djibouti SARSS 2010

Djibouti SARSS 2010

Originally uploaded by US Army Africa

U.S. Army Africa G-4 and 21st Theater Support Command conducted a staff assistance visit to the Horn of Africa Nov. 8-13 at the request of U.S. Africa Command.

The mission was to review the Standard Army Retail Supply System (SARSS) process in place at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, in order to improve customer support and camp readiness, said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Joachim J. Consiglio, head of USARAF G-4’s Sustainment Operations Division.

“Camp Lemonnier, which supports Command Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and various Army units, is a Navy-centric logistics support structure,” said Consiglio. “Under the Logistics Concept of Support, which goes back to August 2009, AFRICOM designated U.S. Naval Forces Africa as the lead component for providing logistics and contracting support to joint forces operating in HOA.

Major objectives of the visit were to address the quality assurance of SARSS accountability and program, to assess the status of customer support, to train military supervisors and contractor operators in using the SARSS program, and to present an overview of the air clearance challenge process for requisition priority, said Consiglio.

“One item of concern is the SARSS relationship on Camp Lemonnier, as this resides in the preview of the Navy Logistics Officer and is run by civilian contractors with no full-time Army manager to oversee day to day operations at the Supply Storage Activity (SSA) warehouse,” he said.

During the visit, USARAF and 21st TSC specialists assessed the current SSA operations and conducted hands -on training with the SSA staff. The team also provided the camp staff an overall assessment of current operations and training on management tools that validate contractor performance and customer support, Consiglio said.

The upshot of the visit will help camp staff reduce abuse of the high-priority ordering system and reduce the air challenge of transporting equipment into the area of responsibility.

“We left mechanisms in place that will save the camp money and improve overall efficiency at the SSA warehouse,” said Consiglio.

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U.S. Army Africa celebrates Thanksgiving 2010

Originally uploaded by US Army Africa

Sgt. Maj. Anthony Miller, U.S. Army Africa G-6 (left), and USARAF Commander, Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg, serve up the Thanksgiving feast with a smile at the South of the Alps Dining Facility Nov. 25.

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