Combined, joint task force in Africa welcomes first female commanding general

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jami Shawley assumed command of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa from U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Zana during a change of command ceremony May 14, 2022. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) presided.



By Tech. Sgt. Lynette Rolen Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Public Affairs Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti May 16, 2022
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CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – History was made on the continent of Africa when U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jami Shawley assumed command of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa from U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Zana during a change of command ceremony May 14, 2022.

The transition marked the first time in CJTF-HOA’s longstanding, 20-year presence in Djibouti that a female assumed command of the task force.

As a dynamic operational headquarters, CJTF-HOA ensures a strategic partnership with Djibouti, responds to crises, supports operations, protects U.S. lives and enables the countering of violent extremist organizations throughout East Africa in order to enhance stability and prosperity. CJTF-HOA works with partner nations, coalition forces and interagency and intergovernmental organizations to achieve a unified effort.

“I came to Djibouti, the only permanent U.S. base in Africa, to change command of CJTF-Horn of Africa from one great leader to another,” said U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), who presided over the ceremony. “Stability and security in East Africa is an important U.S. national security interest and no one has been more dedicated to that than Maj. Gen Bill Zana. Bill's leadership at CJTF-HOA, has been instrumental in achieving U.S. objectives in East Africa and maintaining our superb, long-term relationship with our Djiboutian partners.”

Zana’s year in command cemented and hardened partnerships with Djiboutian hosts, other African partners and like-minded coalition forces in Djibouti.

“I'm optimistic for the future as Maj. Gen. Jami Shawley assumes command of CJTF-HOA,” said Townsend. “I know she will continue to engage with our African and international partners who are so critical to our collective success, as well as continue our mission to maintain pressure on terrorists and other malign actors in this region."

Shawley is the first female U.S. commanding general on African soil and the third commanding general to lead a Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at CJTF-HOA.

“I value the constellation of supporting commands and teams within and alongside AFRICOM that enable us to provide Crisis response, to support and protect our troops in Somalia and other locations, to command our forces in Djibouti, and to sustain the relationships that allow us to do so,” said Shawley.

“To our hosts and partners across Africa, I commit to be your true ally, supporter and friend,” said Shawley. “Together we will uphold dignity, security, prosperity and stability. Your success is our shared success.”

Zana delivered his final address to the service members of CJTF-HOA, thanking them for the service and commitment they displayed during his command.

“My sadness, personally, in leaving all of you is outweighed by the peace and confidence that I feel passing this on to Jami Shawley,” said Zana. “I have complete peace and there is not a cell of apprehension in my body as I pass [command] to the right leader at the right time, one for whom I hold enormous admiration and respect and one that I know is going to be extended the same degree of support, dedication and professionalism that you’ve shown me. She will lead us all to a higher level. I am extremely proud and humbled to have had the honor and privilege to serve along with all of you.”

Shawley commented on Zana’s leadership.

“General Zana, you’ve built a team of teams here on Camp Lemonnier and across the task force [area of interest] that is unmatched in any organization in which I’ve worked,” said Shawley. “You are leaving very big shoes to fill. You’ve achieved your Magnum Opus, and I’m humbled to step into those shoes, those critical relationships that you have established – not merely through professional necessity, but with genuine friendships, shared passions for our goals, and true simple caring about people.”

Shawley stated pride in her new team and her excitement to serve alongside the members of CJTF-HOA.

“You’ve demonstrated exceptional professionalism and skill, warmth and graciousness, and thankfully – a rich sense of humor all around,” Shawley added. “I have every confidence in your skills, abilities, commitment and loyalty. You make America proud and honor me with the privilege to serve alongside you. Together. Forward.”

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