Soldiers of CJTF-HOA, Djiboutian military fire to improve partnerships, proficiency

DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti – Five members deployed to the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) joined members of the Djibouti Armed Forces (FAD) Republican Guard to conduct small-arms training at the indoor firing range located on the FAD installation here, Aug. 28.

Previously, the FAD offered U.S. military forces stationed at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, the opportunity to use their air-conditioned range, allowing for continued training despite overwhelming regional temperatures. This action embodies the international partnership between the two nations, strengthening both military and diplomatic missions.

“Today, we are coming out to get to know one another,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Hyun Chun, CJTF-HOA Liaison Officer (LNO) to the FAD. “Building this relationship will be very helpful to us because during the heat of summer, it’ll be valuable in keeping our members proficient in their training.”

The eight-year old facility boasts both vertically and horizontally moving targets and accommodates up to six shooters at a time. During CJTF-HOA’s site visit, they fired rounds alongside their FAD counterparts to not only strengthen their partnership, but also to assess the aeriation of the enclosed space.

“The main thing that we would like the help from the U.S. military is in the evaluation of the air system in here,” said Adjutant Moutapha Mahamoud Probleh, FAD Republic Guard firing range coordinator. “And if we see there are problems, we could figure out how to fix it.”

After nearly 200 rounds, the appraisal proved that the facility was adequately ventilated, and could be considered an asset for both nation’s training. That training has a dual impact: It directly strengthens the interoperability of the FAD in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), while also assisting CJTF-HOA’s efforts to improve security in Somalia by neutralizing violent extremist organization (VEOs) like al-Shabaab.

U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Barnes, 1st Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment (Task Force Warrior) artillery officer deployed to CJTF-HOA, was one of the U.S. military members involved in the partnership training and functions as the FAD liaison to CJTF-HOA.

“Most importantly, we wanted to ensure that our counterparts are functioning in an environment in which there are no health concerns,” said the Arkansas National Guardsman. “Also, we see our interaction and cooperation with our partner nations as a critical part of eventually accomplishing the transition of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali National Security Forces.”

The U.S., CJTF-HOA and TF Warrior recognize the need for local partnership training in order to create a positive environment for troops in the area, as well as create a stable military in the region. U.S. service members in Djibouti are intent on being teammates, accountable and respectful while executing the mission as a joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational force.

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