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U.S. Military Grows in Djibouti

Posted on 09/29/2002 11:24:40 PM PDT by kattracks

DJIBOUTI, Sep 30, 2002 (AP Online via COMTEX) -- Several dozen American soldiers raise a big green tent and shuffle it across the sand, making room for yet more equipment at a new U.S. military base that is growing larger by the day in this small but strategically located country in the Horn of Africa.

While their colleagues rearrange their living quarters, other soldiers in sunglasses and floppy hats keep watch at the entrance to Camp Le Monier from a machine gun-mounted Humvee.

The five-month-old U.S. base in this former French colony just miles across the Red Sea from Yemen and within striking distance of Iraq is no longer a secret. But finding out what the Americans are up to is another matter.

"Since the beginning of the global war on terrorism, the U.S. Central Command has maintained a military presence in various countries within its area of responsibility in order to train for and respond to a variety of potential operations," said Capt. David Connolly, an Army spokesman flown in hastily from a U.S. base in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar to deal with inquisitive reporters.

"Our forces in Djibouti and Camp Le Monier are providing limited support to other U.S. forces in the region," he said.

That's all: no news and no access.

ABC first reported two weeks ago that American commandos were in Djibouti, raising speculation they were preparing to pursue al-Qaida suspects in Yemen.

But the Pentagon acknowledged only that it had sent 800 soldiers, including special forces, to the new base.

Nothing was said about the 1,500 Marines training at Obock, 30 miles north of Djibouti town across the Gulf of Tadjoura.

Djiboutian officials have denied their country will serve as a base for any action in Yemen, a country with which it has historic economic and cultural ties.

"If we give some facilities to our friends, Americans or French, to use our climate conditions for conditioning their troops, that doesn't mean it's for a specific operation," President Ismail Omar Guelleh told The Associated Press. "This is normal bilateral relations with those superpowers."

He added that if U.S. troops were headed for Yemen, they could operate from their own ships that patrol the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandab Strait that separate the two countries.

Djibouti's acting foreign minister, Mahamoud Ali, said American troops have been conducting large-scale exercises involving ground troops, helicopters, boats and AC-130 planes fitted with air-to-surface missiles.

Giant U.S. Air Force cargo planes swoop in and out of Djibouti's small airport every day as camouflaged MH-53 helicopters with the word "Marines" barely visible on their shells ferry men and equipment to and from Le Monier.

Djiboutians say terrified sheep and goats tumble into ravines running from the roar of the helicopters sweeping overhead.

The rugged, hostile terrain of Djibouti, coupled with humidity and high temperatures, make it an ideal place for training troops in extreme conditions. Much of the Massachusetts-sized country of 740,000 people is uninhabited.

France first used Djibouti as a fueling station in the 19th century for coal-powered ships headed for the Indian Ocean, Indochina and the South Pacific. It became a haven for gun runners and pearl divers and later France's largest overseas military base. France still maintains 2,850 military personnel in Djibouti 25 years after independence

Foreign Legionnaires in tight khaki shorts and white "kepi" caps amble through town when they're not out on grueling exercises. French soldiers with shaved heads and tattoos pack the bars and restaurants at night. They're often joined by some of the 1,000 German soldiers who have been in Djibouti since January as part of the U.S.-led war on terrorism. The Americans seem to stay home at night.

During the day the lobby of the Djibouti Sheraton looks like a military operations center as uniformed Germans mingle among plainclothes American security officials, pistols strapped to their sides.

For Djibouti, a sleepy Muslim nation that lives off port fees, base rentals and foreign aid, the burgeoning military presence is good business.

Djiboutian and U.S. officials are discussing a $10 million to $12 million aid package while street vendors push fake designer watches, sunglasses and cigarette lighters.

Americans in civilian clothes wander through the market in the afternoon, but vendor Ali Samatar says they're not big shoppers.

"They don't trust people here; they don't trust Muslims ... they say they will buy something when they leave," he said with a shrug.

By ANDREW ENGLAND Associated Press Writer

Copyright 2002 Associated Press, All rights reserved

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: africa; battleoftheha; battleofthoa; bothoa; djibouti; f15; f16; fa18; fightingfalcon; fightingfalcons; germans; germany; hornet; hornofafrica; hsvx1; hsvx1jointventure; jointventure; strikeeagle; usmc

1 posted on 09/29/2002 11:24:40 PM PDT by kattracks
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2 posted on 09/29/2002 11:26:16 PM PDT by Mo1
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To: kattracks
Djiboutians say terrified sheep and goats tumble into ravines running from the roar of the helicopters sweeping overhead.

or the ominous approach of sex starved gayboy Osama Bin Laden after his escape from Afghanistan.

3 posted on 09/30/2002 1:41:31 AM PDT by zarf
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To: kattracks
US to Deploy Fighter Aircraft in Djibouti
Alex Belida - Pentagon
11 Jul 2003, 16:45 UTC

The Pentagon appears poised to expand the U.S. military presence in the Horn of Africa, adding jet fighters for the first time to the anti-terrorism task force already deployed in Djibouti.

A U.S. military site survey team was preparing to leave Djibouti Friday after a brief visit to assess the feasibility of stationing advanced American fighter aircraft there.

A spokesperson [Captain Patricia Lang] for the U.S. military's Horn of Africa Task Force tells VOA the 11-member assessment team included both Air Force and Navy flight operations and aircraft maintenance specialists.

The jets under consideration for a possible deployment to Djibouti include the F-15 Strike Eagle, the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the FA-18 Hornet.

But the spokesperson stresses no decisions have been made on when or which fighters might be deployed or where the aircraft will be coming from.

A senior Pentagon official tells VOA the Horn of Africa region remains what he calls "an area ripe for terrorists trying to find safe haven."

This official, speaking on condition of anonymity, says U.S. fighters could be of potential use in anti-terrorist operations in the region.

However, another military official suggests if a decision is made to base any fighters in Djibouti, it may only be a temporary move. The official says this could be for a short-term, operational need.

The official notes scores of U.S. aircraft are being relocated in the region following the end of major combat operations in Iraq. For example, American aircraft and personnel are being withdrawn entirely from Saudi Arabia.

There are some 1,800 U.S. personnel currently based in Djibouti, many of them Special Operations forces. They are occasionally joined by other U.S. military units which conduct training in the Horn of Africa area.

The task force's main mission is to detect, disrupt and defeat terrorist groups in the Horn, working closely together with security personnel from regional governments.


4 posted on 07/24/2003 1:49:41 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: zarf; Cindy
US, German forces work together in medical exercise

Submitted by: Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa
Story Identification Number: 200372211759
Story by Sgt. Bradly Shaver

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti(July 22, 2003) -- Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa personnel and German medical teams aboard Camp Lemonier participated in a mass casualty drill here, July 17.

Three mock victims were treated at Camp Lemonier's medical tent and then airlifted by helicopter to the German ship FGS Frankfurt Am Main, afloat in the Gulf of Aden.

"The idea was to plan for three patients with major injuries, resulting from an auto accident near Camp Lemonier, and have them airlifted to the ship for medical treatment," said Navy Capt. John D. DeWalt, flight surgeon.

The exercise started when the victims first arrived at the medical tent in Camp Lemonier. From there, the center contacted the German hospital ship to dispatch a helicopter for an emergency medical evacuation.

Within minutes, a German Sea King helicopter launched from the ship and notified the medical tent 15 minutes prior to their arrival at Djibouti airport.

The casualty victims being treated at the troop medical center, were loaded onto the helicopter, along with the American medical team. In flight, the staff continued to treat the victims until their arrival on the hospital ship.

Upon touchdown, a German medical team brought the victims to the surgical rooms where the American staff briefed the Germans on the victims' conditions giving the Germans team control of the exercise.

After completion of the mass casualty drill, the hospital staff was debriefed in medical and logistical matters. This was to improve both medical teams' actions for the next exercise, and more importantly, for real life situations.

"I've been training with German medical (staffs) for more than 20-years, and doing this type of exercise is always good for us," said German Senior Petty Officer Karl Adler, chief medical corpsman. "For us, we do these medical exercises every week, and we try to train with another American service every year.

"We are the only German (medical team) in Djibouti, so training at Camp Lemonier with the Americans is very good for us. I know our boys are enjoying it here - it's a very nice camp," Adler said, who is stationed aboard the German supply ship Tender Donau.

DeWalt said their experience with the Germans aboard the hospital ship and helicopter flight was an amazing success.

"The German's and Camp Lemonier's surgical teams were able to layout a stable format, which resulted in excellent training," he said. "They discussed communication issues as well as transport and responsibility issues, regarding medical care.

"The leadership responsibilities between the American and German surgical teams resulted in a great sense of camaraderie and professionalism between the two services," he added. "There's no doubt in my mind that our abilities to work together is at an extremely high level. We are confident in their capabilities and I believe they feel the same way about us."

5 posted on 07/24/2003 1:58:01 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa
26 MEUEX in Djibouti

Submitted by: Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa
Story Identification Number: 2003710122154
Story by Staff

CAMP LEMONIER, DJIBOUTI(July 10, 2003) -- Marines and Sailors of the North Carolina-based 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) came ashore here today to conduct a wide variety of training exercises and civil-military operations over the coming days.

Joining the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa's pool of available assets in the Global War on Terrorism, the 2,300-strong military force will conduct numerous live-fire training events, exercising the full gamut of combined arms team capabilities including tanks, artillery, light infantry, combat service support, helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft.

"Djibouti is an excellent training opportunity for the Marines and Sailors of the 26th MEU (SOC)," said Col. Andrew P. Frick, the unit's commanding officer. "The climate is hot, the ground is rugged and there's significant elevation to contend with. By training here, the troops can become familiar with the kinds of environments where they may be asked later to prosecute the will of the National Command Authority."

In addition to combat training, 26th MEU forces will also participate in civil-military operations. Arrangements have been made for a clothing donation through the local non-governmental organization Caritas. Also, along with forces from CJTF-HOA Civil Affairs, the MEU intends to conduct a Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) in Djibouti.

The CJTF has found that MEDCAPs are both an efficient and effective means of providing needed services and improving life for people in rural communities across the Horn of Africa region. With the combined 26th MEU and CJTF effort here, both commands expect to treat and provide much needed aid to several hundred locals.

Medical education in the control and prevention of infections and diseases is a vital part of preventive medicine programs within the overall humanitarian activities plan for both 26th MEU and CJTF forces. MEU personnel will also participate in a refurbishment project at the clinic in Tadjoura, providing a lasting means for future quality medical care for locals.

Supporting MEU training ashore are elements of the USS Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). The ARG consists of more than 2,500 Sailors aboard the USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7), USS Nashville (LPD-13) and USS Carter Hall (LSD-50), all from the Norfolk, Va. area.

The 26th MEU (SOC) has been operating in and around the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility for several months, having previously supported Operation Iraqi Freedom, seeing action in Northern Iraq near the town of Mosul. This is the second trip into the Gulf of Aden for the Iwo Jima ARG, which is coming from duty in the Arabian Gulf after operations in the Horn of Africa region in early June and participation in exercises in Albania in May.

The 26th MEU (SOC) also participated in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan from November 2001 to February 2002 and follows both the 22d and 24th Marine Expeditionary Units who previously trained and supported counter-terrorism operations in the Horn of Africa region.

CJTF-HOA, headquartered here at Camp Lemonier, arrived in the region in December 2002 and was formed specifically to oversee operations in the Horn of Africa for U.S. Central Command in support of the Global War on Terrorism. The CJTF mission is to detect, disrupt and defeat transnational terrorist groups in the region and support Coalition partner efforts to deny the opportunity for reemergence of terrorist networks in the Horn of Africa.

For its counter-terrorism mission, CJTF-HOA defines the Horn of Africa region as the total airspace, land areas and coastal waters of Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Yemen.

With a fully function headquarters command and control element, an infantry-based battalion landing team, a composite aircraft squadron with both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft and a combat service support group providing an organic logistics capability, the 26th MEU is fully capable of engaging across the full spectrum of CJTF-HOA counter-terrorism missions, as well as other missions that may be assigned by the National Command Authority.

6 posted on 07/24/2003 2:04:45 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: Travis McGee
HSV-X1 surfs African region

Submitted by: Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa
Story Identification Number: 2003721131410
Story by Sgt. Bradly Shaver

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti(July 21, 2003) -- The United States Navy's High Speed Vessel, HSV-X1 Joint Venture, recently arrived at the Port of Djibouti with personnel from Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa who have been participating in training exercises in Kenya.

The introduction of the high-tech Joint Venture and CJTF-HOA personnel in early June closely follows a wide range of Kenyan initiatives to guard against terrorist threats.

A leader in the war on terrorism in the region, Kenya has taken decisive action to address anti-terrorism issues associated with air and port security. Now in partnership with CJTF-HOA, combined forces are focusing on countering coastal and maritime terrorist activity, according to a Joint Special Operations Task Force spokesperson.

The counter-terrorism training, conducted in Kenya's coastal water and the international waters within CJTF-HOA's area of responsibility, supports the CJTF-HOA's mission to detect, disrupt and defeat transnational terrorist groups in the region. This area is defined as the total airspace, land areas and coastal waters of Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Yemen.

The 313-foot Joint Venture is a high-speed, aluminum catamaran-hulled, ocean-going vessel. It is rapidly re-configurable and can ferry up to 325 combat personnel and 400 tons of cargo nearly 3,000 miles one way at speeds in excess of 40 knots, said Navy Capt. Phil Beierl, officer in charge, HSV-X1.

Other capabilities of the vessel include ship-to-shore logistics in coastal or littoral waters, command, control and support for helicopter and amphibious operations including force insertion, recovery and redeployment.

"The HSV-X1 provides a moving command post and logistics base, supporting troops in distant regions - and that's exactly what it did for the exercise in Kenya," said Beierl. It is highly maneuverable, and capable of making a sharp 90-degree turn at full speed and stopping in three ship lengths.

The Joint Venture provides CJTF-HOA and coalition partners with high-speed, ocean-going reach, he added. It has the capability for at-sea forward staging base operations in support of maritime forces and smaller craft. This capability area is a key asset in the Horn of Africa and its surrounding regional coastlines.

"It is bar none the most maneuverable ship in the Navy," remarked Beierl. "The HSV operates as a countermeasure command ship, and shows a strong capability for acting as a mother ship for the wide variety of future systems that are in the works now."

The HSV-X1 Joint Venture provides for a valuable training asset in the Horn of Africa, helping CJTF personnel defend against terrorist networks in the region.

7 posted on 07/24/2003 2:09:05 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa
Cool! And we need lots more like it!
8 posted on 07/24/2003 4:19:38 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- -----)
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