Charlie Company, 407th CA BN Unfurls Flag

U.S. Army Maj. Steven Shannon, left, and U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Thomas Mitchell, unfurl the Bravo Company 407th Civil Affairs Battalion guidon, held by U.S. Army Spc. Matthew Urban, Aug. 23, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. 407th Soldiers Unfurl the Bravo Company 407th Civil Affairs Battalion Guidon

U.S. Army Maj. Steven Shannon, left, and U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Thomas Mitchell, unfurl the Bravo Company 407th Civil Affairs Battalion guidon, held by U.S. Army Spc. Matthew Urban, Aug. 23, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Bravo Company, 407th CA BN, was relieved by Charlie Company, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion. During their time here, Bravo Company worked hand-in-hand with the local Djiboutian populace, authorities, Djiboutian Armed Forces, and other integral organizations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Riley Johnson)

U.S. Army Maj. Mitchell Johnson, left, and U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Jerry Healy, furl the Bravo Company 407th Civil Affairs Battalion guidon, held by U.S. Army Spc. Travis Rehnelt, Aug. 23, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Bravo Company, 407th CA BN, was relieved by Charlie Company, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion. During their time here, Bravo Company worked hand-in-hand with the local Djiboutian populace, authorities, Djiboutian Armed Forces, and other integral organizations. 407th Soldiers Furl the Bravo Company 407th Civil Affairs Battalion Guidon

U.S. Army Maj. Mitchell Johnson, left, and U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Jerry Healy, furl the Bravo Company 407th Civil Affairs Battalion guidon, held by U.S. Army Spc. Travis Rehnelt, Aug. 23, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Bravo Company, 407th CA BN, was relieved by Charlie Company, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion. During their time here, Bravo Company worked hand-in-hand with the local Djiboutian populace, authorities, Djiboutian Armed Forces, and other integral organizations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Riley Johnson)

U.S. Army Maj Gen Wayne Grigsby Jr., Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa commanding general, promotes U.S. Army Spc. Trent Pearson to the rank of Sergeant following the transition of authority ceremony for Bravo and Charlie Companies of the 407th Civil Affairs Battalion. CJTF-HOA Commanding General Promotes Soldier to Rank of Sergeant Following Transition Ceremony

U.S. Army Maj Gen Wayne Grigsby Jr., Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa commanding general, promotes U.S. Army Spc. Trent Pearson to the rank of Sergeant following the transition of authority ceremony for Bravo and Charlie Companies of the 407th Civil Affairs Battalion. Pearson and his fellow Bravo Company Soldiers are returning home following a nine month deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Riley Johnson)

U.S. Army Maj Gen Wayne Grigsby Jr., Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa commanding general, re-enlists U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Vandelinde to the rank of Sergeant following the transition of authority ceremony for Bravo and Charlie Companies of the 407th Civil Affairs Battalion. CJTF-HOA Commanding General Re-Enlists U.S. Army Sgt. to Rank of Sergeant

U.S. Army Maj Gen Wayne Grigsby Jr., Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa commanding general, re-enlists U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Vandelinde to the rank of Sergeant following the transition of authority ceremony for Bravo and Charlie Companies of the 407th Civil Affairs Battalion. Vandelinde and his fellow Bravo Company Soldiers are returning home following a nine month deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Riley Johnson)

U.S. Army Maj. Mitchell Johnson, Bravo Company 407th Civil Affairs Battalion commander, speaks to members of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa during a transition of authority ceremony for Bravo and Charlie Companies of the 407th Civil Affairs Battalion. 407th Civil Affairs Battalion Commander Speaks to Members of CJTF-HOA during Transition of Authority

U.S. Army Maj. Mitchell Johnson, Bravo Company 407th Civil Affairs Battalion commander, speaks to members of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa during a transition of authority ceremony for Bravo and Charlie Companies of the 407th Civil Affairs Battalion. Johnson and his company are returning home following a nine month deployment were relieved by Charlie Company, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Riley Johnson)

Charlie Company, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion (CA BN), assumed authority from Bravo Company, 443rd CA BN, during a transition of authority ceremony Aug. 23, 2014, on Camp Lemonnier.

Charlie Company, 407th CA BN arrived July 31, 2014, from Arden Hills, Minn., and has been working hand-in-hand with the local Djiboutian populace, authorities, Djiboutian Armed Forces, and other integral organizations.

With the transfer of authority, the company has now assumed responsibility for all of East Africa.

“This is a big day today,” said Maj. Gen. Wayne Grigsby Jr., Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa commanding general, during opening comments. “Especially with everything you guys have accomplished and are going to accomplish – it’s huge.”

Grigsby commented that giving public recognition is the best part of his job.

There is nothing better as a leader than to publicly recognize all the hard work, dedication and contributions [Bravo] Company, 407th CA BN, made during their deployment and at the same time formally welcome Charlie Company into the CJTF-HOA family.”

“We lead from behind, beside and below,” Grigsby continued. “Everyone here at CJTF-HOA is a leader. And through each one of you we have an opportunity to build great friendships and teammates across the East Africa region that can change the course of history on this continent.”

Grigsby said the civil affairs teams effects stretch far beyond what can be briefed on a PowerPoint slide and that Bravo Company was one of the most productive companies in CJTF-HOA.

“You can truly leave here knowing you have done something for your country,” he said. “Be proud, you came in strong and now you’re going to leave stronger. I’m very grateful for what you accomplished.”

Grigsby highlighted Bravo Company’s successes in the establishment of English Discussion groups at the Arta Military Interservice Academy, facilitating the construction of a clinic in Tadjoura by Seabees of NMCB-133 and fostering relationships in local areas.

“In 10 or 20 years we will still see the effects of what this civil affairs team did,” Grigsby said. “One of the best examples is the AMIA …when these fine young men and women graduate and enter the Djiboutian Armed Forces they will remember what they have learned from the civil affairs teams. And more than that, they will remember the people, and that we took interest in their lives.

“Maybe some day, one of them will have a chance to attend a service school in the United States,” he continued. “Maybe, one will work their way into becoming a general officer or even the chief of defense forces of Djibouti.”

Following Grigsby’s opening comments, U.S. Army Maj. Mitchell Johnson, Bravo Company, 407th CA BN commander, addressed the crowd.

“We ask a lot of these Soldiers,” Johnson said. “They’re given a mission to build and maintain positive and collaborative relationships along the entire breadth of key leaders on both the civilian and military side in Djibouti to maintain regional access and build partner capacity.”

Johnson continued, thanking numerous units at Camp Lemonnier, with emphasis on the civilian employees who bridge the language gap.

“Your efforts are often under-appreciated but simply stated, we couldn’t do the mission without your dedicated and loyal support,” Johnson said to his unit’s interpreters. “You are a credit to your nation and to your families. We wish you success and good fortune.”

Johnson then directed his comments toward his Soldiers, who have driven a cumulative 10,000 miles and conducted more than 500 individual missions.

“You developed and nurtured significant relationships between AMIA, Gendarmerie, Djiboutian Army regiments … you opened the door at the NCO Academy … and most of you didn’t have a full complement of team members the last three months you were here…”

Johnson listed achievements from every 407th CA BN team, from sharing best practices through civil-military cooperation and tactical combat casualty care engagements in support of African Union Mission in Somalia in Kenya, to meeting with government officials and hosting English discussion groups in Djibouti.

“Bravo Company, my challenge to you is now to pay forward, tell the story and help prepare future civil affairs units for east African operations so they don’t have to endure the same challenges you did,” Johnson said. “Internalize what you learned and use it to train your future Soldiers.”

Following Johnson’s remarks, Maj. Steven Shannon, Charlie Company 407th Civil Affairs Battalion commander, delivered comments.

“First Sgt Mitchell and I have been in command of [Charlie] Company for more than two years,” he said. “We are honored to have the responsibility to command [Charlie] Company, conducting civil affairs missions in support of CJTF-HOA. We have long prepared for this opportunity. It is especially noteworthy … to relieve another company from the 407th CA BN. We are very proud of that.”

Shannon said Bravo Company built a strong foundation for civil affairs and set his company up for success.

“Our RIPTOA has been comprehensive and well executed,” Shannon said. “To all of [Bravo] Company we say thank you for the outstanding hand-off.”

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Commander Djiboutian Armed Forces 407th Civil Affairs Battalion Charlie Company

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