Joint Task Force-Quartz successfully repositioned U.S. forces and equipment within East Africa prior to the Jan. 15 target date while maintaining support to partners and continuing to strike al Shabaab.
“We continue to support our partners in their fight against violent extremists like al-Qaeda affiliate as-Shabaab and ISIS-Somalia who aim to destabilize the region, attack civilians, and target the U.S.,” said Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force - Quartz commander. “We conducted five strikes against al-Shabaab, even while repositioning forces, showing that we remain committed to keeping pressure on al-Shabaab and supporting our partners who do the same.”
JTF-Quartz accomplished this complex logistics and security operation while maintaining significant pressure against al-Shabaab. U.S. forces will continue to support partner forces in Somalia and throughout the region while also surveilling and striking violent extremists.
“JTF-Quartz completed our assigned mission ahead of schedule, with all personnel and equipment repositioned safely. This operation has been a testament to how far our military has come as a joint force,” said Anderson. “To come together with little notice, integrate air, sea, and land components into a coherent operation, and execute flawlessly in a remote part of the world under a compressed timeline is nothing short of extraordinary.”
Beyond accomplishing the reposition, U.S. forces strengthened joint and partner interoperability by incorporating new military assets into partner support operations across East Africa. The integration of close air support aircraft from Central Command bases, the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, and Indo-Pacific Command’s Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group carrying the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit increased the support available to partners. These new and expanded partnerships offer new capabilities to the region as required.
Joint Task Force - Quartz and supporting units flew more than 1,000 sorties using 17 different types of aircraft, moved 4.6 million pounds of cargo, and repositioned hundreds of personnel throughout East Africa in less than two months.
“Any adversary who wishes to challenge U.S. military power, our partners, or our allies should think twice after seeing what we did in such a short time,” said Anderson. “The U.S. is unmatched in our ability to project power, and we stand ready to do so anytime, anywhere.”
Joint Task Force-Quartz included a Joint Force Maritime Component Command and a Joint Force Special Operations Component Command. The JFMCC included the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The JFSOCC was made up of all special operations ground forces in Somalia. JTF-Quartz was also supported by a Joint Air Component Coordinating Element, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, and other units from around the globe.