CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti — The 1st Battalion, 58th Aviation, Airfield Operations Battalion (AOB), transferred authority of the air operations mission to 2nd Battalion, 130th Aviation (AOB) during a transfer of authority ceremony at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Feb. 20, 2023.
The Airfield Operations Battalion is tasked with ensuring safe air passage throughout challenging airspace in the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) area of interest. CJTF-HOA continues to provide dependable tactical and strategic support to operations across East Africa to include joint, interagency and host nation partners in Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya.
Maj. Gen. Jami Shawley, the commanding general of CJTF-HOA thanked the 1-58th AOB for their dedicated service to the CJTF-HOA’s area of interest.
While in theater, the 1-58th AOB conducted over 13,000 aircraft movements while overseeing the procurement of $2.5 million in airfield equipment and executing $1.3 million in airfield improvement projects, said Shawley. The 1-58th AOB’s execution and coordination of multiple airfield surveys and assessments across the area of interest ensures current and future accessibility to all of CJTF-HOA’s locations in East Africa.
“Wherever you went, airfields became better, air travel safer, and our relationships with our African partners became closer,” said Shawley. “Anyone of us that has traveled during your time here owes you a great deal of gratitude…we will never be able to fully thank you for your sacrifices in your service, but at the very least we can recognize you here and now.”
During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Patrick J. Szvetitz, commander of the 2-130th AOB, and Command Sgt. Maj. Melodie Hunt, the senior enlisted leader of the 2-130th AOB, unfurled their unit’s colors while Lt. Col. Travis Betz, commander of the 1-58th AOB, and Command Sgt. Maj. Brice Jackson, the senior enlisted leader of the 1-58th AOB, furled their unit’s colors to signify the end of the unit’s authority and the completion of their mission.
“I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead such an outstanding organization,” Szvetitz said. “Lt. Col. Betz and the 1-58th AOB have done an outstanding job and have had much success, and the 2-130th AOB looks forward to building on that success.”
The 2-130th AOB is dedicated to continuing CJTF-HOA airfield operations support throughout East Africa to ensure safe airspaces.