"Thoughts from the Running Trail" - The Greater Mission

Last Sunday, more than 115 million Americans gathered with friends and family to watch the championship game of the National Football League -- the Super Bowl. The big game has become somewhat of a 'de facto holiday' in the United States. Regardless of whether their own favorite teams are playing in the game or not, football fans gather around televisions for one of the biggest social events in American culture. And here, in Djibouti, thousands of miles from home, American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are no different. The big game remains a strong part of who we are as Americans, and sports fans, wherever our military service takes us.

We're fortunate to have an incredible Morale, Welfare and Recreation staff here who made it possible to see the game on a big screen, surrounded by our fellow service members and teammates. Putting on such an event is no easy task, and we want to thank the entire MWR team for their extraordinary efforts in putting on this event that so many enjoyed.

Equally as important as enjoying the big game is enjoying it safely. It was transparent that as many were enjoying themselves, there was safe and responsible environment because of Leadership who remain involved and committed. Being a leader is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week job. Forever conscious of every service member under our charge, our responsibility never stops. We are accountable for our people, our weapons and our gear, we are accountable for our actions, and we are accountable for our lack of action.

However, while we are forward deployed, not everyone had the opportunity to watch the game, as many were still out conducting operations. So, if the mission allowed you to be able to enjoy the game, we THANK YOU all for looking out for each other. THAT's engaged leadership. For those who continued operations and remained alert and ready, we THANK YOU for remaining steadfast and always ready.

Another component of engaged leadership is sharing information. We believe that information is ammunition. It's important to share it with your fellow service members to build a team based on shared understanding and trust. Each of us play an important role in the success of the team. And it's important to understand how we fit into that team -- specifically, how we synchronize our efforts.

To that end, a team of CJTF-HOA's senior officers and enlisted members have been developing a mission statement that every member of CJTF-HOA should know. We don't mean you should memorize this statement. But you should know what it is that CJTF-HOA does, and be able to explain it in your own words. We think every member of our team deserves to see and know how they contribute to the greater mission.

At the most basic level, we do three major things:

CJTF-HOA, through the Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental and Multinational team:

  • Conducts theater security cooperation activities to enable our regional partners to neutralize violent extremist organizations
  • Enable regional access and freedom of movement within East Africa to protect and defend US interests
  • Execute crisis response within East Africa for ourselves and our partners

In short, we're looking to build strong teams, create momentum and synergy and enhance stability in East Africa by working closely with our partner nations.

It's important to note that our mission statement is a living document. That is, we can change and expand it as the situation changes, and most importantly, as we get feedback from our people around camp, including you!

We plan to ask your thoughts as we meet you on base, and we're anxious to hear your opinions and ideas. This is a discussion, not a lecture, so please think about this important topic, discuss it with your teammates, and offer us some feedback on the topic when you see us. And, thanks for what you do, day in and day out, to help us operationalize our mission statement, and to make the mission happen.

We'll see you on the running trail...

BG Wayne Grigsby, Jr. and SgtMaj Bonnie Skinner

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Leadership Commander Djibouti Senior Enlisted Leader mission statement

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