Horn of Africa Task Force Welcomes New Commander
Fair winds and warm weather prevailed as the commander of U.S. Central Command passed the colors of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa from its outgoing commander to its incoming commander during a change-of-command ceremony held here February 8.
Rear Admiral Phillip Greene, commander, CJTF-HOA, assumed command of the task force from Rear Admiral James Hart in front of more than 750 servicemembers and distinguished guests at the camp athletic dome.
"I am honored, humbled and privileged for the opportunity to command the Combined Joint Task Force here in Africa," Greene said.
"I want to offer a special thanks to the Djiboutian leadership for the warm welcome to myself and our staff that's here, and also for the gracious hospitality the community of Djibouti extends to our men and women serving here."
The task force is based at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, and is responsible for operations in 13 countries across the Horn of Africa, conducting military-to-military training, Medical and Veterinary Civil Action Projects and other humanitarian missions.
"As commander of this task force, I am proud to lead a great team of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians, and to be associated with a highly talented group of military professionals from our coalition nations," Greene said. "Together with our development and diplomatic partners, we will carry on the important mission of working along side our African friends to enable African solutions to African challenges."
In the five years CJTF-HOA has been in existence it has undergone many evolutions, adapting to meet the needs of its partner nations in alignment with U.S. foreign policies. Under Greeneeâ?s command, the task force is scheduled to undergo another evolution, as U.S. AFRICOM transitions to full operational control of missions on the continent. CJTF-HOA currently reports to U.S. Central Comand but will transfer to U.S. Africa Command later in 2008.
"The object is to help people in the region, and that is the reason for the realignment, to see if we can come up with an even better solution for all of Africa," said Admiral William Fallon, commander, U.S. CENTCOM. "I think things have been going very well in this region, the Horn of Africa, but ittâ?s a huge continent, there are a lot of things to do. The big advantage for him (Greene) is that he has been up at European Command, which has responsibility for the majority of Africa. Now he's here with CJTF-HOA and I think it's going to be good for him because heeâ?s got a perspective from both sides."
As CJTF-HOAAâ?s outgoing commander, Hart understands the difficulties that Greene and his staff will face in the coming year.
"The challenges are really about continuing to develop the trust and strong relationship between all of our partners and finding those places where U.S. militaryyâ?s mission aligns up best with helping those countries," said Hart. "I look forward to seeing very many good initiatives started with (Rear Admiral) Greene's staff."
Fortunately for the new commander, the transition to AFRICOM should have a positive impact on the mission for CJTF-HOA.
"CJTF-HOA will benefit from having one combatant commander," said Hart. "Today, with our region being the Horn of Africa, the Great Lakes and the islands, we actually work with three combatant commanders. So in the future, (Rear Admiral) Greene will only have to work with one."
Greene understands that the accomplishments of his staff will be built on the foundation laid by Hart and the troops that served with him.
"I also want to take a moment to thank Admiral Hart for and efficient and effective transition," said Greene. "Under your leadership, much has been accomplished and you have set the conditions for continued, future success."
Greene comes to Djibouti from his latest assignment as the Director for Policy, Resources and Strategy, U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa, in Naples, Italy. He has also served as the commander for Destroyer Squadron 31 and the USS Fletcher, a Spruance class destroyer.
Greene is a graduate of the National War College and the Naval Postgraduate School. His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four awards), Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal (four awards).