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Horn of Africa celebrates 21 years of collaboration on Partner Appreciation Day

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Tulani Ngwenya

Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti – The Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and its partners from Djibouti, along with seven other allied nations, gathered at Camp Lemonnier on November 8, 2023, to celebrate Partner Appreciation Day. This annual event marked 21 years of collaboration between the nations and underscored the United States’ enduring commitment to the Horn of Africa.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jami Shawley, CJTF-HOA commanding general, expressed gratitude during the celebration, stating, “Your unwavering support and friendship have been invaluable. Together, we’ve achieved much, and together we will continue to build a brighter future.”

The Task Force’s presence in Djibouti dates back to 2001, initiated in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Initially established as an expeditionary sea mission aboard the USS Mount Whitney in 2002, the Task Force transitioned ashore and established a base at Camp Lemonnier in 2003.

Christopher Snipes, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires to Djibouti, highlighted the strength of the partnership between the United States and Djibouti. He noted the recent collaborative effort in April, where U.S. forces used Camp Lemonnier to conduct a military-assisted departure of U.S. diplomats from the Embassy in Khartoum. Snipes stated, “The successful operation would not have been possible without our longstanding partnership with the Republic of Djibouti.”

“Djibouti plays an important role in world affairs, and our partnership is like no other. It is a privilege to say, on behalf of the U.S. Mission to Djibouti, that it is stronger today than ever. We look forward to where our partnership will take us in the future,” Snipes continued.

The celebratory event showcased equipment, aircraft, military vehicles, and capability displays from service members representing the U.S., France, Italy, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

A significant highlight of the event was a flyover featuring a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey from the VMM-364 (REIN) and KC-130 from the VMGR-252, along with a Japan Maritime Self Defence Force P-3. The flyover served as a symbol of our continued commitment and support to Djibouti and the entire region.

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Djiboutian Sous-Préfet de Damerjog, Abdi-Chaib Nour Youssouf, expressed his appreciation, stating through a translator, “I’m very happy to be here today with our allies, the American forces in Djibouti. The American forces are always on our side.”

Over the two decades since its establishment, the Task Force’s mission has evolved to meet the needs of the region. Despite organisational and operational changes, the enduring relationship between the allied nations in Djibouti ensures they are all ready to support any mission.

“As we move forward, our partnership remains steadfast. Our friendship isn’t only a product of shared history but also a testament to our shared vision of the future,” said Shawley. “Together, we’re stronger and better equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century.”

About CJTF-HOA and Camp Lemonnier:

CJTF-HOA conducts operations in the Horn of Africa to enhance partner nation capacity, promote regional stability, dissuade conflict, and protect U.S. and partner interests.

Camp Lemonnier is an operational installation that provides world-class support for service members, transient U.S. assets, and its 38 tenant commands, including CJTF-HOA.

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