CJTF-HOA supports multinational effort to save Djiboutian lives, land

Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) service members provided critical support in a multinational effort to combat a fire at the Douda landfill in Djibouti City, August 14. CJTF-HOA engineers worked alongside Camp Lemonnier, Djiboutian, French and Chinese firefighters to help contain the fire, which was low-level but widespread and encroaching dangerously close to a surrounding village and the civilian airport.



By Staff Sgt. J.D. Strong Aug 16, 2019
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CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti -- Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) service members provided critical support in a multinational effort to combat a fire at the Douda landfill in Djibouti City, August 14.

CJTF-HOA engineers worked alongside Camp Lemonnier, Djiboutian, French and Chinese firefighters to help contain the fire, which was low-level but widespread and encroaching dangerously close to a surrounding village and the civilian airport.

“The U.S. military and other international partners assisted Djiboutian services in controlling the fire,” said Amb. Larry E. André, U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti. “We congratulate the Djiboutian services for their successful coordination of this shared effort."

At the request of the government of Djibouti and in support of the U.S. Embassy Djibouti, CJTF-HOA provided engineers and bulldozers to create firebreaks using patches of dirt to help prevent the fire from spreading.

“We responded immediately to the request for assistance, lending personnel and equipment to our Djiboutian partners,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michael Turello, CJTF-HOA commanding general. “We truly value our friendship and partnership with Djibouti, and we were proud to lend a hand when they needed us. We, and the other nations involved in this effort, have a shared interest in promoting a secure, stable and prosperous Africa.”

The swift, joint effort resulted in the fire being contained and buried.

“Once we hit ground, we were able to integrate with the coalition partners and others there,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Nathan McMullin, executive officer of the 465th Engineer Company, 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade, 412th Theater Engineer Command, based out of Birmingham, Alabama, assigned to CJTF-HOA. “As construction engineers, we are trained in all areas of construction. We routinely do road construction, various earthwork and site preparations, so we were ready to go.”

McMullin said working in the multinational environment added to his team’s personal and professional growth.

“It is a really unique opportunity to be able to work with other nations, being in the same fight with them and working on the same project,” said McMullin. ”Everyone had a sense of urgency. It was a good humanitarian effort. We all worked together and we didn’t care where we came from. The goal was to help contain the fire and protect the village. Everyone worked nonstop so we could be successful.”

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