US response force stands down from South Sudan embassy duty
Written by Staff Writer/Africom, Friday, 02 May 2014
The EARF, assigned to the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), flew into Juba, the capital last December, following an outbreak of violence in South Sudan Africom said. The EARF had just transferred authority 96 hours previously, but upon notification, were able to assemble their gear and were ready to go within hours.
The group evacuated 700 US and foreign national non-combatants and was expected to be there two weeks, but their stay was extended because continued security was needed.
Ambassador Susan Page praised the unit’s efforts in a diplomatic cable sent to the State Department.
“The EARF's consistent stance toward the US mission's leadership was ‘tell us what you need, and we will do it’. They provided continuous 24/7 security to the two embassy compounds, allowing the embassy to remain open. By making continued embassy operations possible, the EARF facilitated US government efforts toward humanitarian relief and ending South Sudan's conflict,” the American ambassador said.
READ MOREUS Army looking for air services contractors
Multinational participation plays key factor to Exercise African Lion
Africa presents challenges, opportunities to U.S. military command
Terror threat remains across Africa - Africom
The EARF, made up of soldiers from the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armoured Brigade Combat Team and 1st Infantry Division, accomplished the mission in two waves. Bravo Company sent the initial team to perform evacuation of personnel and to establish parameter security.
A second team, led by US Army Captain Mark Vidotto, Headquarters Company commander, replaced Bravo Company in mid-January, and continued security operations.
“We were there to provide security for US personnel and the infrastructure of the embassy compound and provided added assistance as directed by the US ambassador. I feel it was a successful mission. We were there for three months and constantly improved defensive posture positions,” he said.
He said his soldiers were always coming up with ideas to make things better.
They are the second unit assigned to the EARF mission, part of a new initiative of Regionally Aligned Forces, which provides the commander of US Africa Command (Africom) an additional capability to respond to crises and contingencies in East Africa.
Although comprised primarily of soldiers, the EARF functions as a joint response force, the US Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy all provided personnel during the operation. The joint effort allowed CJTF-HOA to be effective in accomplishing its mission of ensuring peace and stability throughout the region.
Vidotto said the people from CJTF-HOA’s J6, communications directorate, played a huge role in providing access to non-classified internet protocol and secure internet protocol routers. This allowed his team to have reliable back-and-forth communication with CJTF-HOA leadership and J2, intelligence directorate.
Intelligence personnel at Camp Lemonnier were able to relay situations on the ground in South Sudan to Vidotto’s team protecting the embassy.
The job well done by members of the EARF was greatly appreciated by the 700 people who were evacuated.
“EARF service members were professional at all times. The embassy community holds EARF team members in great respect, admiration and affection. We are deeply grateful to them for a job very well done,” Page said.
With the situation in Juba stabilised, the EARF was directed to redeploy to Camp Lemonnier and was replaced with a Marine Security Augmentation Detachment.
The capabilities the EARF provide are pivotal in the Horn of Africa region and key to the CJTF-HOA mission to strengthen East African partner nation militaries by conducting crisis response and personnel recovery supporting US military, diplomatic and civilian personnel throughout East Africa.
Top stories this week
- U.N. helicopter shot down in South Sudan, 3 killed, Russian owner says
- East African leaders set new talks deadline for South Sudan
- S.Sudan ceasefire monitor dies after officials held by rebels
- South Sudan rebels accept presence of Ugandan troops to keep peace
- China presses South Sudan over renewed violence
- Full calendar keeps SANDF out of Ex Southern Accord
- U.S., Southern Africa partnership takes centre stage during Exercise Southern Accord
- South Sudan ceasefire under threat as fighting erupts
- Little appetite for peace in South Sudan
- U.S. threatens sanctions on those blocking peace deal in South Sudan
Dual safety: new generation of mortar fuses
by Atlantis Corporation, 1 September 2014
The wind wheel fuses DM183 and DM111S are available from Atlantis Manufacturing Management Services, the official Junghans South African representative.
Here's how chairman of Africa's largest private defence company sees the continent's future
by Paramount Group, 1 September 2014
Africa is no longer a charity case and can solve more problems on its own, says Ivor Ichikowitz, executive chairman of Paramount.
US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) signs five-year framework contract for Carl-Gustaf weapon system
by Saab, 1 September 2014
Saab signed a new framework contract with the US Special Operations Command for the company's Carl-Gustaf man-portable weapon system.
Saab Grintek Defence partners with Specialist Maritime Services
by Atlantis Corporation, 28 August 2014
New MD 530G Scout Attack Helicopter
by Safomar Aviation, 27 August 2014
MD Helicopters successfully completed the Live Fire Qualification Exercises for its new MD 530G Scout Attack Helicopter.
Kelvin Hughes to co-exhibit with ECM Technologies at AAD 2014
by ECM Technologies, 26 August 2014
The international company will join its exclusive land-based security systems representative in SA, at Africa, Aerospace and Defence 2014.