Monthly Archives: February 2011

Strong Bonds retreat in Garmisch, Germany, January 2011

Enjoying an afternoon of snow and sun, laughing children and smiling adults scatter along the sledding slop, whizzing down the hill or watching others go by in Garmisch, Germany. This past weekend 22 U.S. Army Africa couples and their 42 children went to Edelweiss Lodge and Resort for a Strong Bonds marriage retreat.

“This weekend put our lives on pause so we could breathe each other in again,” said Amiia Coffey, whose husband recently returned from deployment. “It let us step away from our crazy lives to focus on each other and how different we are.”

“Army leaders feel it is very important for Soldiers to have a strong marital relations and that’s why they fund this program,” said Chaplain (Col.) Jonathan McGraw.

The next USARAF couples retreat will be April 15-17. Strong Bonds programs are offered through the unit’s corresponding Chaplain’s office, said McGraw.


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Africa Symposium at U.S. Army War College, February 2011

Originally uploaded by US Army Africa

Amb. Vicki Huddleston, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, talks in Bliss Hall Feb. 1 during the African Symposium at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.

The U.S. Army War College dedicated two days to bring together government, civilian and military experts to talk over the issues, challenges and potential success stories for the African continent during a regional symposium Feb. 1-2.

“This symposium was designed to shape and inform the discussion of the complex issues facing the African continent,” said Col. Tom Sheperd, U.S. Army War College director of African Studies. “The goal is to provide an exposure to some of the underlying key strategic factors that play a role in shaping the way the United States achieves its national interests in a regional context.”

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Atlas Drop aerial delivery familiarization, February 2011

The 197th Special Troops Company (A) hosted U.S. Army personnel along with counterparts from the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) Feb. 7-15 for aerial delivery system familiarization and operations in support of Atlas Drop 2011 exercise objectives.

Responsibility for the exercise transitioned to U.S. Africa Command in 2009.

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USARAF chef garners kudos at Culinary World Cup

Sgt. Ken D. Turman II of U.S. Army Africa became a U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team (USACAT) team member by winning the 2009 Europe’s Senior Chef of the Year and then going on to receive medals at the annual food competition held at Fort Lee, Va.

Late last year, Turman began preparing for the Culinary World Cup in the frigid October weather of Grafenwoehr, Germany. The cold did nothing to deter the team of mixed service chefs and aides from their training or anticipation of the international November competition.

“The Culinary World Cup was an amazing experience for me,” said Turman. “One that did not become ‘real’ until we climbed up on that stage and met with chefs from all over the world.”

“This year’s competition was my first with the USACAT team,” said Turman. “I will be a team member until the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany, in 2012. I am honing my skills and sharpening my knives and keeping my eyes and heart on America bringing home the gold.”

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U.S. Africa Command C4ISR Senior Leaders Conference, Vicenza, Italy, February 2011

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) hosted its second annual C4ISR Senior Leaders Conference Feb. 2-4 at Caserma Ederle, headquarters of U.S. Army Africa, in Vicenza, Italy.

The communications and intelligence community event, hosted by Brig. Gen. Robert Ferrell, AFRICOM C4 director, drew approximately 80 senior leaders from diverse U.S. military and government branches and agencies, as well as representatives of African nations and the African Union.

“The theme for our conference is ‘Delivering Capabilities to a Joint Information Environment,’ and we see it as a joint and combined team … working together, side by side, to promote peace and stability there on the African continent,” Ferrell said.

“We’re absolutely delighted to be the host for this conference, and we hope that this week you get a whole lot out of it,” said U.S. Army Africa Commander, Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg.

“I think that General Ferrell has done an absolutely wonderful thing by inviting key African partners to participate in this event so they can share their personal experience from a national, regional and continental perspective,” said Kevin Warthon, U.S. State Department, peace and security adviser to the African Union.

“We are not sure what we are going to do tomorrow, but the one thing that I am sure of is that we are able to do something. Don’t know when, don’t know how, but as long as our focus is on our ability to assist and to help to progress a people, that’s really what counts more than anything else,” he said.

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Africa Endeavor planning conference, Bamako, Mali, January 2011

U.S. Africa Command concluded the main planning conference for Africa Endeavor 2011 in Bamako, Mali, Jan. 27, after four days of deliberation and exercise planning sessions.

Africa Endeavor is an annual, multinational communications exercise that focuses on interoperability and information sharing among participating nations.

“The goal of Africa Endeavor is to improve the communications, command, control and information capabilities of African militaries so as to strengthen African stand-by forces,” said Maj. Gen. Gabriel Poudiougou, Chief of Staff of the Malian armed forces at the opening ceremony.

“In short, a country’s security is reinforced by open communications with its neighbors,” said Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Mali at the ceremony. “The Africa Endeavor exercise aims to improve communication and to strengthen relationships among countries in the region and across the continent in order to improve everyone’s security.”

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Military medical exchange, Nouakchott, Mauritania, January 2011

Three Soldiers from 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support), based in Atlanta, Ga., conducted military medical exchanges with approximately 25 soldiers of the Mauritanian Medical Services in Nouakchott, Mauritania, Jan. 10-20.

Two weeklong sessions focused on medical evacuation techniques, and field sanitation and preventive medicine, said Lt. Col. Tim Doherty. The Mauritanian participants included physicians, nurses, planners and medics, he said.

“Theater security dooperation missions are one of the most important missions the U.S. Army accomplishes,” said Doherty. “Working with the Mauritanian Army sharing techniques related to Army aero-medical evacuation and combat life saver will certainly improve the overall medical care the Mauritanian Army provides their injured soldiers and civilians.”

This was the first medical engagement of its sort conducted in Mauritania by the U.S. Army Africa Command Surgeon’s Office, he said.

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