Ward Speaks of 'Wonderful Opportunity' In the Horn of Africa

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - General William Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM), addresses hundreds of personnel of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) in Djibouti on February 10, 2010. Ward visited Ethiopia and Djibouti February 8-10 for a series of meetings on U.S. military support to the African Union and African nations' regional security initiatives. Approximately 2,000 U.S. and international personnel are assigned to CJTF-HOA, which works with the nations of East Africa. (U.S. Africa Command photo by Vince Crawley) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - General William Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM), addresses hundreds of personnel of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) in Djibouti on February 10, 2010. Ward visited Ethiopia and Djibouti February 8-10 for a series of meetings on U.S. military support to the African Union and African nations' regional security initiatives. Approximately 2,000 U.S. and international personnel are assigned to CJTF-HOA, which works with the nations of East Africa. (U.S. Africa Command photo by Vince Crawley)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - U.S. Army Specialist Lionel Bonilla, center, of the Puerto Rico National Guard, was among a group of soldiers briefly visited by General William Ward of U.S Africa Command, during lunch February 10, 2010, at Camp Lemonnier. Bonillo is among approximately 2,000 U.S. and international personnel at Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, which works with the nations of East Africa on regional security programs. (U.S. Africa Command photo by Vince Crawley) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - U.S. Army Specialist Lionel Bonilla, center, of the Puerto Rico National Guard, was among a group of soldiers briefly visited by General William Ward of U.S Africa Command, during lunch February 10, 2010, at Camp Lemonnier. Bonillo is among approximately 2,000 U.S. and international personnel at Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, which works with the nations of East Africa on regional security programs. (U.S. Africa Command photo by Vince Crawley)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - Personnel assigned to Camp Lemonnier talk over lunch with General William Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM) on February 10, 2010. Approximately 2,000 U.S. and international personnel are based at Camp Lemonnier with Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, which works with the nations of East Africa on regional security programs. Ward met with personnel over lunch to discuss concerns and issues of those assigned to CJTF-HOA. (U.S. Africa Command photo by Vince Crawley) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - Personnel assigned to Camp Lemonnier talk over lunch with General William Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM) on February 10, 2010. Approximately 2,000 U.S. and international personnel are based at Camp Lemonnier with Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, which works with the nations of East Africa on regional security programs. Ward met with personnel over lunch to discuss concerns and issues of those assigned to CJTF-HOA. (U.S. Africa Command photo by Vince Crawley)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - General William Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, talks to civilian and military personnel at Camp Lemonnier after the opening of a new $33.6 million project to build a new aircraft parking apron and full-length taxiways. Camp Lemonnier is home to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, with about 2,000 personnel. (U.S. Africa Command photo by Vince Crawley) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - General William Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, talks to civilian and military personnel at Camp Lemonnier after the opening of a new $33.6 million project to build a new aircraft parking apron and full-length taxiways. Camp Lemonnier is home to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, with about 2,000 personnel. (U.S. Africa Command photo by Vince Crawley)

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'."

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