Djibouti, US celebrate relationships with Partner Appreciation Day

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Coalition and joint service members from the United States’ Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa participated in a Partner Appreciation Day event on 10 November at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.

The goal of the event was to celebrate the US’ two-decades long commitment to allies and partners in East Africa on the 20th anniversary of the arrival of US military troops in the region following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, CJTF-HOA said.

“I’m very excited for everyone to be here, because it’s a tremendous opportunity, not only to commemorate and celebrate a 20 year milestone in this friendship, this is more than just a moment in time as we look forward to this enduring relationship,” said US Army Major General Jami Shawley, commanding general of CJTF-HOA. “Following the heinous attacks on 9/11, the United States desperately needed a friend here. And Djibouti was that friend, and the French forces extended a hand and they remain so today.”

Camp Lemonnier began as a partnership between the country of Djibouti and the French Foreign Legion Forces. It is now a forward operating site and the only enduring US military base on the continent of Africa. The camp is a logistics platform providing support services to over 25 tenant commands and activities, including CJTF-HOA.

“This is the best possible example that we can find of working together with a foreign partner on a common goal,” said the Honorable Jonathan Pratt, US Ambassador to Djibouti. “I can think of no other example in this world where we are so closely aligned on our objectives, especially in Somalia, to bring peace and stability to counter Al-Shabaab.

“The [Djiboutian] government has hosted us so kindly all this time,” Pratt continued. “We’re so proud to work with our Djiboutian hosts to bring security and peace to this region.”

During the event, service members from Spain, Italy, France, Japan and the US showcased equipment, aircraft and vehicles with interactive displays. The event also included a flyover by French and US aircraft to further showcase U.S. partners’ military capabilities and commitment to peace and prosperity in Africa, the US military said.

“It’s extremely important to take a step back and appreciate the relationships as well as the partnerships that we have here,” said US Army Major Peter Owen, executive officer to the commanding general of CJTF-HOA. “Today was an opportunity to recognize the partnerships that have been built, recognize 20 years here at Camp Lemonnier, as well as have the ability to walk around, talk to people that you don’t always get the chance to speak with outside of the work context, and be able to enjoy a few minutes together, recognizing them for the great work that they do as our partners.”