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U.S. Army Africa: A Team Like No Other

U.S. Army Africa: A Team Like No Other

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Published by US Army Africa
By MG William B. Garrett III

U.S. Army Africa’s mission on the continent is unique: to promote sustained security among African land forces and serve as contingency headquarters supporting crisis response.

To learn more about U.S. Army Africa, visit us online at http://www.usaraf.army.mil
By MG William B. Garrett III

U.S. Army Africa’s mission on the continent is unique: to promote sustained security among African land forces and serve as contingency headquarters supporting crisis response.

To learn more about U.S. Army Africa, visit us online at http://www.usaraf.army.mil

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Published by: US Army Africa on Aug 31, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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September 2009
hen a U.S. Air Force C-17landed at Kigali Interna-tional Airport, Rwanda, inearly January to airlift vital equipmentto peacekeepers in Sudan, it marked achange in U.S. policy toward assistingin the Darfur peacekeeping mission. Italso marked a change for the U.S. Armyin Africa. Just a few weeks before, inearly December 2008, Southern Euro-pean Task Force (SETAF) began itstransformation to become U.S. ArmyAfrica, the Army component to U.S.Africa Command.
U.S. Army Africa: A TeamLike No Other 
By MG William B.Garrett III
MSG George Duenas observes as SSG Chad Sloan explains infantry skills to a soldier from the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF).The two U.S.Army Africa NCOs spent a month mentoring RDF troops under a joint British- American program held at Gabiro,Rwanda.
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September 2009
PT Charlie Jones and SSG Brian Ruse, two U.S.Army Africa soldiers, were on the tarmac that day,assisting Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) soldierswith uploading the U.S. cargo plane. The team wassent to mentor RDF logisticians on how U.S. sol-diers load aircraft and support logistical missions; they wereat the right place at the right time. In early January, then-President George W. Bush authorized the airlift mission. On January 14, U.S. cargo planes landed at Kigali, where theRDF soldiers loaded their equipment using lessons learnedfrom their U.S. Army Africa mentors. In turn, the partner-ship effort offered immediate support to multinationalpeacekeepers serving in Sudan’s war-torn region.This type of engagement is indicative of U.S. ArmyAfrica’s new role. Small groups of soldiers with uniqueskill sets partner with African militaries to share knowl-edge and information, allowing Africans to choose whichideas apply to their situations and empowering them to re-solve problems their own way.U.S. Army Africa spent the first weeks of 2009 gearing upfor missions in Africa during Lion Focus, a two-week exer-cise conducted concurrently with a mission readiness exer-cise at the Joint Warfighting Center in Suffolk, Va., that pre-pared troops heading to Combined Joint Task Force-Hornof Africa. The goal was to improve the way our headquar-ters staff plans and conducts operations, with an Africa fo-cus. It also gave U.S. Army Africa staff its first look at theroad ahead, a major change from past operations. Based inVicenza, Italy, SETAF supported NATO missions for morethan 50 years, focusing primarily in Europe. Five timeswithin the last 15 years, however, SETAF deployed assets toAfrica in support of crisis-response operations.U.S. Army Africa’s new mission is twofold: conductingsustained security engagements with African land forces topromote security, stability and peace; and providing a con-tingency headquarters in support of crisis response. U.S.Army Africa staff have tackled their new mission, plan-ning and participating in ongoing U.S. Africa Commandmissions and taking on new initiatives.In February, a U.S. Army Africa officer went under waywith the USS
as part of the U.S. Navy’s AfricaPartnership Station, a training, goodwill and outreach mis-sion to the five West African nations of Senegal, Ghana,Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon.In March, CSM Earl Rice and SSG Christopher Upp rep-resented U.S. Army Africa during a visit to South Africa’sspecial forces (SASF), a mission conducted jointly with theU.S. Army Ranger Training Brigade. SASF leaders had pre-viously attended a U.S. Army Ranger School graduation,and after seeing how Ranger professionalism is combinedwith technical and tactical proficiency, they invited the U.S.soldiers to South Africa to discuss the development of acourse for junior leaders.While plans are to have SASF troops interact with U.S.Army Africa noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and U.S.Army Rangers to build South African military capacity, itwas U.S. soldiers who had a taste of hardcore SASF train-ing. Afew weeks after the initial visit, three Army NCOsunderwent a grueling three-week survival course in theSouth African bush, learning valuable lessons on adaptingto the environment, maintaining endurance and overcom-
 MG William B. Garrett III 
is the commanding general of U.S. Army Africa and U.S. Army Southern European Task Force. He is also the senior commander for all U.S. Army forces inItaly. Previous assignments include tours of duty with the 6thInfantry Division, 10th Mountain Division, 25th InfantryDivision, 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps,U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, U.S. Special OperationsCommand, the Army Staff and the Joint Staff.
CPT Charlie Jones,a U.S.Army Africa logistician, explains to a group of Ugan- dan soldiers how U.S.soldiers load equipment on air- craft.Jones’men- toring mission is indicative of U.S.Army Africa ef- forts—small teams of U.S.soldiers us- ing unique skill sets and experience to mentor African militaries.
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ing nearly insurmountable challenges—a “tool kit” theycarried back to their units.Later in March, a U.S. Army Africa team headed toGaborone, Botswana, to share their logistics knowledgewith a group of officers from the Botswana Defence Force.Once again, a small team that included a senior NCO and awarrant officer was effective, offering Army ideas onmovement control while opening a two-way dialogue onthe challenges of carrying out operations in Africa. Build-ing rapport with soldiers in partner nations is an added benefit from such engagements, which can lead to futureopportunities to share information on critical Army skillswith soldiers in Botswana and elsewhere.
hroughout the year, U.S. Army soldiers servingunder Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africahave partnered with several African militaries.Soldiers from the 218th Field Artillery Regiment based at Fort Still, Okla., recently wrapped up a15-month tour conducting military-to-military mentorshipprograms in Uganda, Ethiopia and other East Africancountries. Soldiers also lent their military expertise to sev-eral missions under the U.S. State Department’s Africacontingency operations training and assistance program.Meanwhile, in the United States, Kenyan military offi-cers visited the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.Senior NCOs from Kenya visited U.S. Army NCO trainingat Fort Benning, Ga., and toured the U.S. Army SergeantsMajor Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas.In April, U.S. Army Africa staff attended the Land ForcesSymposium in Nairobi, Kenya. During discussions withsenior African military leaders, the primary topic was notsimply how the U.S. Army can help now, but rather a dia-logue on achieving long-term goals through planning andpartnership.Our bottom line is that U.S. Army Africa efforts must sup-port the policies and plans established by the U.S. embassyin each nation, many of which have U.S. Army officers serv-ing as defense attachés. There are no plans for a large U.S.Army footprint in Africa; the deployment of a battalion or a brigade would happen only in the case of a crisis. Instead,the command deploys small teams of mentors. These teamswork traditional “train-the-trainer” missions, building thecapacity of partner nations’ instructors and enabling themto turn around and teach their own people.Agreat example of this took place recently in Rwanda.Two senior U.S. Army Africa NCOs joined a British-ledmentorship mission held in Gabiro. The task was the clas-sic infantry “four stack” for clearing buildings. One after-noon, Rwanda Defence Force instructors gathered in theshade of a tree, taking in each step. Then they walkedthrough the tactic. By the next morning, the RDF instruc-tors were teaching their own troops.As we move forward, mentorship is also happening atsenior levels. In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, four U.S. Armylieutenant colonels are at the core of teaching and leader-ship within the Ethiopian army war college. African offi-cers and NCOs also attend stateside U.S. Army schools,such as the Command and General Staff College at FortLeavenworth, Kan.Success in Africa can only be achieved through partner-ship with other services within the U.S. military, other gov-ernmental agencies and civilian organizations. With no as-signed forces, U.S. Army Africa relies on support fromcommands within the active component, the NationalGuard and the Army Reserve. In some cases, citizen-sol-diers have unique skills and niche capabilities that activecomponent soldiers do not.This spring, LTG Clyde A. Vaughn, then-director of the
September 2009
Pvt.Umaru Konneh shows a typhoid-tainted blood sample to SSG Mike Tatu.SSG Tatu, a medic from 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery Regiment, Fort Sill, Okla., was among several NCOs supporting Liberia Security Sector Reform, a U.S.State Department-led men- torship program designed to build Liberia’s military capacity.
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