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
- Aid worker abducted at gunpoint in South Sudan
- UN peacekeeping force to remain in Abyei until February 2015
- Kentucky Air Guard unit establishes cargo hub in Senegal for Ebola Response
- Famine threatens South Sudan if conflict deepens
- U.S. warns South Sudan: Strike a peace deal or face U.N. sanctions
- UN agencies help over 500 00 South Sudanese with lifesaving aid
- US to supply Caravan aircraft to Mauritania, Niger and Kenya
- US ready to expand South Sudan sanctions
- Own air command for Africom
- South Sudan’s warring sides told to stop stalling
Saab selected by Airports Authority of India to deploy A-SMGCS at five airports
by Saab, 20 October 2014
The company will deploy its Advanced-Surface Movement Guidance & Control Systems at five airports in India.
DAFF research, patrol vessel operations under new management for next 12 months
by Nautic Africa, 13 October 2014
Due to supply chain regulations, SAMSA's Special Marine Projects Division will take over from Nautic SA at the end of October.
#Parabot - Africa's largest super-hero robot joins the rhino fight
by Paramount Group, 13 October 2014
Paramount Group and the Ichikowitz Family Foundation's super-hero robot raises awareness of the role of the defence industry in fighting poaching.
Opening of new Mega Aero Training Academy (MATA) practical training centre
by Safomar Aviation, 13 October 2014
The practical training centre is based at OR Tambo International Airport.
Saab awarded contract for civil marine traffic services system in Hong Kong
by Saab, 10 October 2014
The defence and security company was awarded the contract to renew the existing Hong Kong vessel traffic services system.
Enstrom delivers first model 480B-G
by Safomar Aviation, 10 October 2014
The first model 480B-G was delivered today, equipped with the Garmin G1000H glass cockpit.