Ward Speaks of 'Wonderful Opportunity' In the Horn of Africa
U.S. Army General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, visited Camp Lemonnier where he met with Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa leadership, led an all-hands call, and presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new "Enduring Ramp" apron February 10, 2010.
While welcoming the new staff, Ward spoke of the mission CJTF-HOA has and the "wonderful opportunity" to make a positive impact for security in this region of the continent.
"CJTF-HOA builds friendships, forges relationships and creates partnerships to enable African solutions to African challenges," Ward said. "You are a team of partner-nation, civilian and joint force members, focused on improved security, increased stability and strengthened sovereignty by doing (your) part to integrate diplomacy, development and defense."
Although this mission has its challenges, it's a unique opportunity the service members should take advantage of, said the general.
"This is a chance for you to face the challenge that CJTF-HOA has; from using civil affairs teams to provide humanitarian aid, to the ongoing process to improve the role of water resources here in Africa. This will be a rewarding tour," he said. "I look forward to the coming year, working with you and continuing to make progress on the African continent."
Ward held an all-hands call with camp personnel, telling them how proud he was of them and the "footprint" they're leaving behind in Africa.
"Not everyone can do what you do. It's not that they don't want to do it, they flat out can't. You are indeed special, what you do matters, and your mission is making a difference that will cause your footprint to be one that you can be proud of," said Ward.
Ward, with the snip of a pair of golden scissors, opened the new "Enduring Ramp" apron with U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Anthony Kurta, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa commander, and U.S. Navy Captain William Finn, Camp Lemonnier commanding officer.
"Although it is new, this apron has already had a large impact on the region," said Ward.
The new apron, which cost $33.6 million, is 219 meters by 126 meters and is designed to provide three parking spaces for C-130 Hercules size aircraft. Enduring Ramp will also support parking for aircrafts as large as the C-17 Globemaster III and C-5 Galaxy.
"Initially, Camp Lemonnier was built as an expeditionary base with expeditionary hardware," said Lieutenant junior grade John Woods, Camp Lemonnier air operations officer. "The opening of this concrete ramp confirms that Camp Lemonnier is transitioning into a forward operating site with an enduring presence, thus naming the ramp 'Enduring'."