"Thoughts From The Running Trail" - We are all Ambassadors

In the course of our travels to the various countries in the Horn of Africa, we're fortunate to spend a lot of time with U.S. Ambassadors to our partner nations. Ambassadors have a big job and huge responsibilities, representing each of us, as Americans, in more than 160 nations.

But that job doesn't belong to them alone. Every time we step off Camp Lemonnier, or any other post in HOA, we are representing more than ourselves. We also represent our military, our camp, and our country. Each of us, as military members, are in a sense Ambassadors as well.

We're very proud that, every day, there are a dozen or more off-camp engagements here in Djibouti alone. Whether it's building a health care clinic, conducting English Language classes, or training local military units, we have many occasions to interact with our Djiboutian hosts daily. Through these interactions, we make lasting impacts on ourselves and those we help.

Being a good representative of our nation is only half the mission, though. Any time we attend a function outside the camp, whether on business or on liberty, we should consider it a civil-military operation.

CMO is more than just winning "hearts and minds" in the community, though. It takes disciplined initiative to be effective. In this way, each member of CJTF-HOA can also be thought of as a weapons system, with information as our ammunition. Of course, we don't mean that in the literal sense. But in the language of the profession of arms, that's exactly what we are. And, like any weapon system, if we don't conduct routine maintenance, that weapon will soon malfunction.

For example, most of us have seen the mission statement, been briefed on it at the small unit leadership level, and understand why it is we're here, what it is we do, and how our particular jobs fit into the bigger picture to create mission success. It's important that each of us knows and understands the mission and intent of CJTF-HOA so that we can explain it to our teammates, to our families at home, and to our multinational partners here, so that we can build relationships based on shared understanding and trust.

It's important to never forget that here in Djibouti, we're all still part of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, and this is still a forward deployed location. It's critically important that we be respectful guests, maintain that operational mindset that we've honed since arriving here, understand why we're here, and help build those critical relationships by being great ambassadors for our country.

If we each do our part, mission success is assured.

Have a great, safe week. We'll see you on the running trail.

UBUNTU!

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Leadership Commander Senior Enlisted Leader Partnership