"Thoughts from the Running Trail" - Memorial Day

No arsenal, no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”  Ronald Reagan

The sergeant major and I reminisced about what Memorial Day was like for us when we were growing up.  We talked about what we did and what we thought it meant when we were young.  We placed flags or flowers on each veteran’s grave as a way to show respect for those who served their nation and for many made the ultimate sacrifice.

Many people don’t realize the reasons we have our freedom.  Blood was shed; lives were lost.  Many left home very young to serve their nation, and some didn’t come home.   Each grave has a story.  They were sons, daughters, fathers, brothers, mothers, uncles, sisters and friends.  Each grave represents so many more people who are affected by that loss.  For them, there is an empty seat at their table. This is a loss they feel every day, not just on a Monday in May.  We don’t remember the sacrifices or the everlasting scars of their sacrifices enough.

Teammates, some may not always realize how lucky we are to live in our great country.   We may be lucky enough not to know any other way.  There is another way of life, one where we wouldn’t enjoy so many of the freedoms that we are accustomed to. Might we say it is because of those who gave their today so we could have a tomorrow?

Our freedoms are not free.  Freedoms, so easily taken for granted, were bought and paid for by the lives of brave men and woman from all walks of life. They were united by common values of love, honor and loyalty to their country.  We owe gratitude to those who paved the way before us and provided each of us with a better opportunity of freedom.   To those who died protecting our freedom, our dreams and our families’ dreams, we owe our continued thanks and honor. They are true patriots, whose devotion to duty and commitment to service will never be forgotten.

Memorial Day is our opportunity to stop and give thanks for those who have died protecting our freedom. Let’s pause to honor and respect those brave men and women who fought so bravely, gave their lives so freely, and for those who willingly stand ready to do the same without hesitation.

 We have the highest respect and honor for each of you and owe you the continued assurance that your commitment to our nation’s freedom will never be forgotten.  You have volunteered to risk your life for your teammates and your country.

William Shakespeare said,  “For he who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother”  On this day, we remember our brothers.


Commander Senior Enlisted Leader

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CJTF-HOA welcomes new CSEL

U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Butler Kendrick Jr. assumed responsibility as the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa command senior enlisted leader, succeeding U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Claudell Taylor, during a Relinquishment of Authority ceremony at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, June 19, 2015.

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Grigsby leaves Legacy at CJTF-HOA

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Thoughts from the Running Trail - "In Honor of Martin Luther King"

SgtMaj and I always say it is a Leadership factory at CJTF-HOA and we build Leaders first. We do so and we are so successful because this command is the most diverse we have seen. It is a melting pot of each of our services; active duty, reserves, and our coalition and civilian partners. We embrace each other’s culture, and, SgtMaj and I challenge each of you to learn from one another’s service culture and service traditions. While being in the countries of our East Africa Partners, share a little of your culture and learn about the culture of the country you are in. In turn, this will make our organization and our mission stronger and more successful.