Posts tagged ‘Djibouti’

FRIDAY FOTO (April 29, 2022)

Desert Water Hazard.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Blake Wiles)

OK, hold on tight. This one will make your head spin.

This week’s photo shows U.S. troops with the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) performing a swimming obstacle course during a French Desert Commando Course (FDCC) pre-assessment  — that’s right a Desert Commando Course — in the East African nation of Djibouti on April 19, 2022.

During the FDCC, participants are evaluated on mountain confidence, knot tying, night obstacle courses, aquatic obstacle courses, and battle maneuver tactics as well as physical challenges like timed pushups.  Since 2015, the French Forces stationed in Djibouti, a former French colony, have invited U.S. service members at Camp Lemonnier (the only U.S. base on the African continent) to participate in the course at the 5th Overseas Interarms Regiment base in Dijbouti.

The 5th OIR is a troupes de marine regiment, and has been the Djibouti garrison since November 1969. Despite its name, the Marine troops are part of the French Army, not the Navy.

April 28, 2022 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 15, 2019)

Flying Squad.

CJTF-HOA Reinforces Commitment to Djibouti’s Rapid Intervention Battalion

(U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Ahearn)

No, they didn’t forget to pay the gravity bill. These soldiers from Djibouti’s Rapid Intervention Battalion  (RIB) were performing a traditional Somali dance welcoming new RIB graduates.

The Rapid Intervention Force is a U.S. Army-trained unit formed to respond to crises and promote regional security and stability in East Africa, where Djibouti is strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal from the Indian Ocean/Arabian Sea.

One-hundred twelve Djiboutian soldiers joined the ranks of the RIB following a graduation ceremony last June (June 28, 2018), when this photo was taken at a training site outside Djibouti City.

Soldiers from the U.S. 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team provided training in U.S. Army basic warrior tasks, including hand-to-hand combat techniques and combat life saving. The U.S. Army personnel are part of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).

March 15, 2019 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 21, 2018)

One Man Light Show.

FRI FO 12-21-2018 One Man Light Show

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Corban Lundborg)

This seems like a good photo choice for the longest night of the year (at least in the Northern Hemisphere).

Here we see Air Force Technical Sergeant Chris Hibben swinging a chemical light stick during night vision training conducted at the Grand Bara Desert, Djibouti — which, it turns out, is in the Northern Hemisphere — on December 14, 2018.

Let’s see a Jedi do that with a light saber.

FYI, 4GWAR will have a photo essay on the Christmas season and the military around the world for Christmas Eve. Hope you’ll visit.

December 21, 2018 at 6:47 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (April 20, 2018)

So Where’s the Plane?

Pararescue Airmen practice military free fall

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Gustavo Castillo)

Illustrating the “Free” in free fall, this photo shows Air Force para rescue jumpers (PJs) performing a military free fall jump over Djibouti in East Africa on April 17, 2018. The airmen are assigned to the 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron. They are deployed in support of humanitarian aid and contingency operations in the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa area of responsibility.

April 20, 2018 at 12:05 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 14, 2014) RESENDING

Light up the Night.

Marine Corps Photo by Corporal Jonathan R. Waldman

Marine Corps Photo by Corporal Jonathan R. Waldman

U.S. Marines fire at fixed targets from Light Armored Vehicles (LAV-25s) during training in D’Arta Plage, Djibouti in East Africa.  Note that despite the bright light thrown off by tracer bullets, you can still see the stars in the sky if you click on the photo to enlarge it.

The LAV-25s are assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance detachment, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

They were participating in a combined arms engagement range during sustainment training. The 11th MEU is deployed as a reserve and crisis response force throughout U.S. Central Command and the 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

WHOOPS!

We created today’s Friday Foto in the wee hours after midnight, but apparently we neglected to click the all important PUBLISH button after editing this post.

We apologize for the error — and the delay in discovering it until a few minutes ago.

The Editor.

 

 

November 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm Leave a comment

AFRICA: Will Pentagon Belt Tightening Squeeze Out AFRICOM?

Considering COCOM Consolidation

AFRICOM's emblem

AFRICOM’s emblem

At the Aspen Security Forum in mid-July, Army Gen. Carter Ham, the recently retired head of U.S. Africa Command said he thought most countries in Africa had a more positive view of the regional command now than when it was created in 2007.

Since then, the military and civilian workers of AFRICOM “have done so much to diminish the fears and anxieties of many African countries,” Ham told your 4GWAR editor during a question & answer session at the four-day conference in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. “We don’t go anywhere without the consent of the host nation government” and the consent of the U.S. ambassador to that nation, he added.

When then-President George W. Bush created the U.S. military’s sixth geographic combatant command there was a pretty large outcry in Africa that this was just another imperialistic move by a Western power seeking to grab all the oil, gold or other natural resources it could. Others saw it as an attempt to counter growing Chinese influence in the region.

As an example of the hostility to the concept of U.S. troops in Africa, only one country – Liberia – offered to host AFRICOM’s headquarters, which still remains in Stuttgart, Germany. Many other African nations opposed having a U.S. military presence anywhere on the continent.

Gen. Carter F. Ham (ret.)  (AFRICOM photo via Wikipedia)

Gen. Carter F. Ham (ret.)
(AFRICOM photo via Wikipedia)

But Ham, who was AFRICOM’s second commander, said “many nations – not all – have found it to be in their best interests to have a military-to-military relationship with the U.S. through Africa Command.”

So we were a little surprised when reports began surfacing that AFRICOM might be folded into European Command or one of the other six regional combatant commands as a money-saving venture driven by the budget constraints of sequestration.

Defense News, a Gannett publication, reported August 12 that the Pentagon was considering “a major overhaul” of the commands that could include “dissolving Africa Command” and splitting its responsibilities between European Command, which is also headquartered in Stuttgart, and Central Command, based at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. AFRICOM is responsible for U.S. security, humanitarian and diplomatic operations in all of Africa’s 54 countries, except Egypt, which is overseen by Central Command.

As it says on its website, AFRICOM has four main roles in Africa: to deter and defeat transnational threats; prevent future conflicts; support humanitarian and disaster relief and protect U.S. security interests. AFRICOM has a very small permanent presence in Africa – a former Foreign Legion base in Djibouti where about 2,000 personnel are based and an airbase in Niger with a little over 100 personnel to support surveillance drones flying over northwest Africa where an affiliate of the al Qaeda terrorist network has been active. The bulk of AFRICOM’s small personnel force remains in Europe.

All of the services conduct training exercises with African militaries like Africa Lion and Flintlock. Other missions offer naval and police training as well as medical clinics, emergency response training and small construction projects.

U.S. and African troops at opening ceremonies for Flintlock 09 exercise in Bamako, Mali in 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Victoria Meyer)

U.S. and African troops at opening ceremonies for Flintlock 09 exercise in Bamako, Mali.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Victoria Meyer)

“We didn’t really see ourselves as a fighting command,” Ham said at the Aspen event … until Libya happened.

AFRICOM found itself leading air and intelligence operations during the early days of the United Nations-sanctioned intervention in Libya’s revolt-turned civil war. AFRICOM also supplied military transport and air refueling assistance to French and African forces intervening earlier this year in the Islamist revolt in Mali. Later, AFRICOM reached an agreement with Niger to base unarmed surveillance drones there. AFRICOM has also played a role in battling pirates off the east and west coasts of Africa. And U.S. special operations forces conducted a hostage rescue mission in Somalia and provided assistance to African militaries hunting for renegade warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army.

That increasingly military role may have undercut AFRICOM’s original, largely non-miltary role in the eyes of some Africans, according to the military newspaper, Stars and Stripes.

But summing in up his answer in Aspen to 4GWAR’s query about whether Africa was now more accepting of AFRICOM, Ham said: “If the United States were to say ‘We’re interested in relocating the headquarters to the African continent. Would you be interested in hosting [it]?’ I think there are a number of nations that would say ‘Yes.’”

AFRICOM civil affairs personnel conduct numerous health clinics with local medicos like this one in Chebelley, Djibouti (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Christopher Ruano)

AFRICOM civil affairs personnel conduct numerous health clinics with local medicos like this one in Chebelley, Djibouti (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Christopher Ruano)

September 5, 2013 at 12:57 pm 3 comments

FRIDAY FOTO (June 14, 2013)

On the Brink

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Christopher Q. Stone)

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Christopher Q. Stone)

A U.S. Marine prepares to exit the back of an MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft high above Djibouti near the Horn of Africa.

The Marines — from the Maritime Raid Force with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) —  were conducting parachute operations with French special operations forces in May.

The Osprey can take off and land like a helicopter and fly like an airplane. The one is this photo is assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 266. The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility with the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group.

To see more spectacular photos of this jump, as well as what the Osprey looks like in flight — and the very interesting headgear of the French parachutists, click here.

June 14, 2013 at 1:04 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO Extra (Feb. 24, 2012) Update

“I Was Misinformed”

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph A. Araiza)

U.S. Navy Lt. Scott Pennoyer, (right), reads Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoff Shepelew the oath of enlistment. As you’ve probably noticed, there’s something different about this photo since both men are underwater.  They are both assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 2, Navy explosives experts who are also trained divers and parachutists.

It was Sheplew’s choice to re-enlist beneath the surface of the Gulf of Tadjourna. The Defense Department has presented similar photos in the past.

But what caught our eye is the location: off the coast of Moucha Island, Djibouti. Normally the photos that come out of Djibouti, home to Camp Lemonier the only U.S. base in Africa, look more like this …

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt)

The juxtaposition reminds us of the line in the iconic 1942 Humphrey Bogart film Casablanca, when Bogey’s character tells the local police chief he came to Casablanca for the waters.

“The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert!” the policeman blurts out.

“I was misinformed,” Bogey deadpans.

Guess we were misinformed about Djibouti. There’s more to it than desert.

By the Way, 2012 marks the 70th anniversary of the release of Casblanca, which won the Best Picture Academy Award in 1943.

February 24, 2012 at 9:40 am Leave a comment


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