Monthly Archives: January 2011

Marrakech Security Forum, January 2011

Dozens of scholars, politicians and soldiers gathered in Marrakech, Morocco, Jan. 20-22 for the second annual convocation of the Marrakech Security Forum.

U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) Commander, Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg, attended the event, which was hosted by the African Federation for Strategic Studies (FAES) with support from the Moroccan Center for Strategic Studies (CMES).

“The conference was focused on the developing threat of AQIM (al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb) in the trans-Sahel region in Africa, and just basically terrorism around the world,” said Lt. Col. Uli Calvo, North Africa Desk Officer, Security Cooperation Directorate, U.S. Army Africa.

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Rotary Club presentation, January 2011

Rotary Club Vicenza Berici President, Enrico Mele (right), introduces Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg to the Vicenza Berici Rotary Club and the Vicenza Rotary Club at Villa Michelangelo Jan. 25.

The U.S. Army Africa commander made a slide presentation to approximately 100 members of the two clubs on the role and structure of the command.

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Samuel Sharpe Award, January, 2011

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Marilynn Bradley, senior maintenance technician for U.S. Army Africa G-4 (Logistics), received the Samuel Sharpe Award from the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Association at a monthly hail-and-farewell ceremony Jan. 21.

“CW4 Bradley-Watts has been the linchpin for improving every facet of the maintenance posture within the command,” Chief Warrant Officer 4 Joachim Consiglio said.

The Samuel Sharpe Award is named for one of a council of 13 freemen who presided over the Massachusetts Bay Colonies in the 1600s. Samuel Sharpe was appointed as “Master Gunner of Ordnance” by the colonial authority to care for shot, powder and other essential supplies. According to the Ordnance Corps Association, this award honors those “whose selfless contributions to the Corps stand out in the eyes of their seniors, peers and subordinates alike.”

“I was totally out of my comfort zone as a maintenance technician, but I try to give my best, 100 percent of my effort to what I do,” Bradley said. “I knew the product had to be effective and quality, because it affected other service components.”

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First aid training, Dikhil, Djibouti, January 2011 *** a personal point of view

School headmasters apply a pressure dressing on a simulated wound in Dikhil, Djibouti, Jan. 8, 2011, as Maj. Cynthia McPherson of 402nd Civil Affairs Functional Specialty Team, observes and advises.

Here are Maj. McPherson’s observations on the experience of conducting the training ~ a 25-year U.S. Army professional with a singular point of view ~ enjoy!

I had trouble sleeping the night before we left Camp Lemonnier. It was not the fear of danger; it was the eagerness to begin the mission mixed with the fear that the mission would not have enough of an impact to make a difference.

Our team of health care professionals consists of one physician assistant, a senior combat medic and a registered nurse. Our mission is simple from an academic standpoint: demonstrate first aid to educational directors from remote areas so they may better serve their community by sharing their knowledge with fellow educators, gain skills to decrease complications, and stabilize injuries so advanced medical care can be pursued.

This is not a combat mission; this is a project of faith, sharing and team building with the people of the country that is kind enough to host us as guests. This is about lasting friendships and enhancing self-reliance. This is important, positive and provides lasting, tangible results.

As the team leaves camp the following morning, everything brightens. The clouds part, the sun is more radiant and the smell of the ocean spray tints the air. I feel lighter than I have in days.

This is it, the reason I chose to do what I do. Helping people and building on foundations of friendship and collaboration which already exist, experiencing new cultures and sharing practices. I have been lucky in this regard. The military has been kind to me, a veteran of 25 years.

We arrive at the team house and moods elevate again. The final planning for the next two days is in high gear, full speed ahead. We meet with the regional team and developa plan of action for the next two days. We partner with another team with who we have not previously worked.

Planning and pre-execution checks with team huddles are the key to success with any mission. Our teams become united; the entire group hopes and strives for success. After the long drive and the heightened excitement, I am suddenly exhausted. I sleep well the night before our mission begins.

Finally, the big day arrives. I wake up early to shower and prepare my gear. It feels a bit strange not inspecting and checking my combat gear. It is not needed; this is a mission of trust, confidence and alliance.

I step outside my room to a cool breeze, a brilliant sunrise and glistening mountains. The first call to prayer is heard in the distance as the local people begin their day. This is a society where early to bed is early to rise, where the day begins at sunrise and the hard labor is done before the heat of the day.

This is a place where the community works together building their future, an epitome of teamwork which produces benefits for all. It is the same cooperation and group effort I see sustaining the native villages of Alaska, the partnerships that stabilize and strengthen the links as the years pass. The community develops and grows in response.

The drive to our meeting area is 45 minutes and I am excited to get started. We talk about how great this project is and hope our influence and interaction is positive. The facility is not a fancy hotel conference room or even a westernized classroom, but it is well kept, conducive to our instruction and contains all the technical items we require to present our ideas.

Our Djiboutian peers arrive with an air of excitement. They are excited to learn new practices and build cohesion and commonality. The class is an inquisitive bunch, intelligent and fun. We share our first-aid practices and they share their thoughts and obstacles they encounter to rendering first aid. They seek our knowledge and we seek their best practices. Together we learn, laugh and bond.

The two days pass in a lightning-speed haze. Memories are engrained and friendships are, in fact, born. The end of our second day is both blissful and unhappy. It would have been nice to have more time, to share and learn even more with our new partners, but we know our time is limited. We seize every moment to make it as enhancing as possible.

We smiled, laughed and said our farewells.

After a short battle with a flat tire, we began our journey back to camp. A bit of melancholy descended on the team. Being in the military, it is all too common to develop amity and establish bonds which last only a short while. It is not something any of us really become adapted to, it’s just a part of the job we dedicate our lives to.

I may never see the outcome of our joint efforts and collaboration, but I know in my heart that what we participated in was good, worthy and right.

Back at camp too soon and already a new project, with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to partner with another country, comes barreling down the pipes, heading my way. My excitement renews.

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East African Coalition Logistics Conference, January 2011

Capt. Gervais Ndahabonimana, Burundi National Defense Force (left), and Maj. Fouad Waiss, Djibouti National Army, attend the East African Coalition Logistics Conference in Djibouti City, Djibouti, Jan. 6, 2011. The conference, hosted by Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, brought representatives from U.S. Africa Command and more than 10 African partner nations together to exchange ideas and discuss solutions to transportation and logistics issues in their countries.

“Dealing with maintenance issues is not always easy,” said Lt. Col. Ali Aden Houmed of the Djiboutian National Army. “We also have some difficulty having qualified specialists for maintenance issues, so these issues give us a hard time. We have equipment coming from various countries for different projects. It’s good to have gifts from friends, but at the end of the day, it is difficult to keep that equipment working.”

“There are major infrastructure programs in virtually every country in this region,” said U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti, James Swan.

“New roads, new railway networks and new ports will clearly improve capabilities for logistics in the region in the future. Partner nations here in the region are heavily involved in efforts to improve the logistics base here in East Africa,” he said.

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Maj. Gen. Hogg visits Ghana, Togo, Benin January 2011

Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg, commanding general, U.S. Army Africa, talks with Ghanaian Lt. Gen. Peter Augustine Blay, Ghanaian Chief of Defense Staff, during a meeting in Accra, Ghana, Jan. 11. The two met to discuss the future of U.S. Army and Ghanaian Army partnership. Both officers expressed satisfaction with the growth of the positive partnership between the two countries.

This was Hogg’s second visit to Ghana; he is currently on a three-country visit to Ghana, Togo and Benin to meet with military leaders.

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Logistics assessment, Bujumbura, Burundi, December 2010

Two United Stated Army Africa personnel from the Directorate of Logistics conducted a deployment capability assessment with uniformed and civilian members of the Burundian Defense Forces in Bujumbura, the capital, Dec. 14-17.

Sgt. 1st Class Luis Febles and Gordon Christensen of the USARAF Logistics Directorate, stationed at Caserma Ederle, conducted the survey, which took place at the Bujumbura Military Airfield.

Christensen and Febles were in Bujumbura to assess the Burundian capability to deploy personnel and equipment via aircraft to various operations on the African continent, and then to use those findings to custom design a lesson plan for an Africa Deployment Assistance Partnership Team (ADAPT) scheduled for June 2011.

“This is our first interaction with the Burundian military in a deployment operations sense,” Christensen said. “This survey will help us to tailor the lesson plan for the June 2011 ADAPT, and tailoring the plan will help us to meet the Burundian’s training requirements.”

“Having trained and certified deployers is a crucial component to deploying a force,” Febles said.

“We want the ability to run this operation with our own soldiers,” said Maj. Gen. Nkusi Charles, Commandant de l’Aviation, Republique Du Burundi.

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