Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 107th Aviation Regiment, Airfield Operations Battalion (AOB), transferred authority of the air operations here to the 1st Battalion, 58th AOB June 15, 2022.
The AOB provides air traffic control and airfield management functions at airfields throughout East Africa in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jami Shawley, commander of the CJTF-HOA, presided over the ceremony.
“Wherever you went the airfields became sturdier, air traffic control operations more streamlined and, yes, the wildlife a bit more manageable,” said Shawley. “While cleaning and refurbishing critical areas for our forward deployed assets, you also took care of necessities to get the mission done. You successfully conducted over 12,500 aircraft movements and throughput of over 2,400 passengers without incident.”
The 1-107th AOB first arrived to Djibouti in October 2021, managing critical sites across East Africa.
Safety officers from the 1-107th AOB conducted airfield training for over 800 military and U.S. contractors as well as leading numerous pre-accident plan drills, increasing airfield mishap response readiness.
The standardization element of the AOB, combined with the Future Crisis Management Element and the East African Response Force, helped maintain a high degree of readiness to support embassies and crises response throughout the continent.
“The 1-107th has truly left its mark here in Eastern Africa, and I appreciate all of the efforts,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. John Lodes, battalion commander of the 1-107th AOB. “It’s now our time to come off the field and hand the ball off to the 1st-58th AOB. I wish Lt. Col. Betz and his team continued success and look forward to hearing what you’ve accomplished here in Eastern Africa.”
The battalion maintained operational movements in austere environments, continuously maintained critical runways, and de-conflicted with host nation aviation authorities.
“What you did mattered,” said Shawley. “CJTF-HOA provided support to operations and activities across our area of interest because of your commitment, diligence and success. I know the 1st-58th AOB will follow your example and continue to support our warfighters. I will always be here as your greatest supporter.”
The 1-58th AOB comes to CJTF-HOA from Fort Rucker, Alabama.
“We’re more than ready for the challenge,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Travis Betz, battalion commander of the 1-58th Aviation Regiment. “When we got here and we got on the ground, we started seeing the teamwork and support was there from the 1-107th. I couldn’t ask for any better. We’re excited to be here, ready to go, excited to be part of the team and doing everything we can to support the mission.”