CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (June 9, 2021)-- After months of training with Soldiers from the 2nd Security Forces Assistance Brigade (SFAB), Djiboutian soldiers assigned to the Battalion Intervention Rapide (BIR) participated in a combined promotion ceremony the morning of June 9, 2021.
U.S. Army Capt. Steven Kornegay, a team leader with the 2nd SFAB, was promoted to the rank of major by Djiboutian Army Lt. Col. Mohamed Assoweh, the commander of the BIR. After the promotion ceremony there was another ceremony for Kornegay becoming an elder which included traditional dress and a camel ride.
“They have really taken an interest in this promotion,” said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Joshua Garcia, company first sergeant. “It really is all about building the relationships between our troops and their battalion.”
According to Kornegay the ceremony was a symbolic gesture to signify unity by having a Djiboutian lieutenant colonel promote an American captain to major.
“Typically when you get promoted to major you have your family around,” Kornegay said. “So this is just doing it with my Djiboutian family.” The promotion was not the only event that took place that day.
Prior to the promotion, there was a test for the BIR soldiers to culminate their two months of training. The test included three parts with translators at each station to help ease the language barrier.
At the first station, BIR Soldiers learned movement tactics, map reading, and patrol base maneuvers. The second station, medical, had BIR Soldiers make splints, care for wounds, and treat for shock. The third and final station had BIR soldiers take apart and reassemble different weapon systems and perform functions checks on those weapons.
Kornegay and his team have been training the BIR in U.S. doctrine. The BIR is supposed to mirror the United States Army and be the premier unit in Djibouti.
“I’m working specifically with the lieutenants and the commanders who need to know how our doctrine works,” Kornegay said. “They need to know how it fits professionally into the context of their job.”
The 2nd SFAB will continue to work with the BIR to maintain and strengthen the relationship Djibouti and the United States have.