Across Kenya, U.S. Forces Share Knowledge, Assistance

In the first ever meeting of its kind, the senior enlisted advisor for the Kenyan Department of Defense forces met with the top enlisted leaders of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) in Nairobi, Kenya, the week of April 28, 2008.

Kenyan Defense Sergeant Major Ashford Miriti Ndubi welcomed U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Mark Ripka, AFRICOM command sergeant major, and Command Master Chief Roy Maddocks, CJTF-HOA command master chief, prior to a Kenyan cross-country tour of several locations where the two countries' militaries have been collaborating efforts.

Officials said the primary focus of the senior enlisted tour was to discuss opportunities to establish a joint training environment. The goal is to allow noncommissioned officers from both nations to share leadership, mission accomplishment, and military training strategies.

"During the five day tour, we discussed how joint NCO development will further solidify the concepts of shared diplomacy, cooperative leader development and a common defense outlook essential to ensuring our universal success," said Maddocks.

One of the first stops on the tour of Kenyan training sites was Manda Bay. There, U.S. sailors and anti-terrorism instructors from the U.S. State Department worked with Kenyan law enforcement students, providing instruction on small-boat operations. The course, led by Chief Warrant Officer Michael Andre, was designed to train Kenyan military members on skills the U.S. Navy uses.

"The curriculum includes courses such as boat navigation, boarding procedures, search and seizure methods, escalation of force and prisoner handling," Andre said.

Andre, a naval special warfare task unit commander, and other instructors are stationed in Manda Bay for up to a year. This tour length provides continuity for the Kenyan maritime operations training.

On Lamu Island, U.S. Army Civil Affairs teams have been working to organize humanitarian aid and community assistance.

"This civil affairs team works with local schools, health facilities and leadership to build relationships between partner nations and the U.S. military," explains team leader, Army Staff Sergeant John Gutowski. "Our goal is to prevent conflict, promote cooperation, protect joint interests through humanitarian assistance projects, and to prevail against extremism."

The Kenya Coastal Civil Affairs team is leading projects such as school construction, medical and veterinary assistance programs and health clinic rehabilitation.

The Kenya Department of Defense service members stationed in Isiolo are working with members of the U.S. Army to develop tactical skills.

The American team is led by Army Captain Vance Trenkel. He said, "The focus of this partnership is to enhance Kenyan/U.S. military relations while improving combat readiness."

During the senior enlisted tour, Ndubi praised the efforts of the Old Guard instructors.

"My country is so proud to have you come to Kenya as a big brother to show us the way," Ndubi said. "It will go down in the annals of history that you came and took us from child to adulthood through your generous guidance."

In Garissa, a U.S. Navy team is providing humanitarian assistance to the village's future site of a health care clinic and primary school. The team, led by Chief Petty Officer Thomas Schnapp, has relocated their base-camp of tents near a drilling site to accomplish a well-drilling project; one of their many assistance missions across the region.

Also in the village of Garissa, a U.S. Army Civil Affairs Team has orchestrated several aid projects supporting the local community. In conjunction with Kenyan Department of Defense soldiers, their list of ongoing endeavors includes the rehabilitation of a local orphanage, construction of public lavatory facilities, containment and removal of municipal rubbish and the upgrade of local schools and medical facilities.

U.S. Forces in Kenya are commanded by the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and are deployed from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. The vision of CJTF-HOA is to build friendships, forge relationships and create partnerships while integrating diplomacy, development and defense efforts essential to ensuring success. With effective partnerships, the hope is that partner nations will see increased security, improved stability, and strengthened sovereignty across the Horn of Africa.

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U.S. Army Kenya U.S. AFRICOM

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