The 3-58th Airfield Operations Battalion (AOB) for Combined Task Force Horn of Africa took over authority of the mission to advance tactical and strategic operations across East Africa from the 2-130th AOB in CJTF-HOA’s during a ceremony on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Oct. 28, 2023.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jami Shawley, CJTF-HOA commanding general, presided over the ceremony and thanked the 2-130th AOB for their dedicated service. The 2-130th AOB was instrumental in contingency operations during the Sudan crisis, resulting in the rapid evacuation of U.S. personnel in the country as civil war broke out.
“Your mission has literally saved lives,” said Shawley. “It was an honor to serve alongside you. You represent the best of America's generosity and values and the best of the Army’s strength of character.”
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Douglas Lindsay, 3-58th AOB commander, commended the accomplishments of the outgoing airfield battalion and welcomed his team to the Horn of Africa.
“Thank you again to Lt. Col. Szevtitz and the 2-130th, we will continue your work and we will continue to build upon the foundations you have left,” said Lindsay.
During the ceremony, Szevetitz and Command Sgt. Maj. Melodie Hunt, 2-130th AOB senior enlisted leader, furled their unit's colors and relinquished their command over U.S. air operations for CJTF-HOA to Lindsay and 1st Sgt. Ignacio Jiminez 3-58th AOB senior enlisted leader. Lindsay and Jiminez unfurled their unit colors in front of service members of both the outgoing and incoming AOB to signify the start of their mission in CJTF-HOA.
While in theater, the 2-130th AOB were separated into teams that conducted operations in four geographically separated locations across CJTF-HOA’s area of interest including Kenya and Somalia. They coordinated and executed multiple airfield assessments and surveys, ensuring accessibility to all of CJTF-HOA’s locations in East Africa.
“2-130th AOB soldiers – I cannot express the thanks and gratitude I have for you, throughout this deployment, you have succeeded at being a team of teams,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Patrick Szvetitiz, 2-130th AOB commander. “This team has been the backbone of the organization and for that I could not have wished for a better group of soldiers,” said Szvetitz.
The Airfield Operations Battalion ensures safety and passage throughout Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) area of interest airspace. As CJTF-HOA continues to provide dependable tactical and strategic support to operations across East Africa, the AOB guarantees mission support for joint, interagency and host nation partners in Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya