CJTF-HOA Dedicates Walela Bridge in Uganda

More than 500 Ugandan residents attended the dedication of a new concrete bridge --one that will improve the lives of thousands by providing them with year-round access to the market and aiding in the delivery of humanitarian supplies.

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Anthony M. Kurta, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) commander and a speaker at the dedication, said it was the collective talent and skill of the service members from the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) and CJTF-HOA who worked side-by-side constructing the bridge which now allow for passage across the culvert.

"Now, much-needed necessities, such as food, medicine and materials can be delivered to communities throughout the region," Kurta said. "Vital lines of transportation are now restored and, as a result, lives are improved and stability is reinforced."

Another guest speaker for the bridge dedication, State Minister for Works John Byabagambi echoed similar sentiments to those of the admiral, complimenting the UPDF engineers and Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 on their work. The minister of works said that infrastructure, education, health, and finance were the top four components to achieving prosperity in Uganda.

"I want to thank both the UPDF and the U.S. Navy engineers for a job well done," said Byabagambi. "I am an engineer by profession. Without even touching the bridge, I can tell the beautiful work done."

The minister, along with the other three speakers, climbed into the vehicle designated to part the ceremonial ribbon and drove across the bridge. UPDF Chief of Staff-Land Forces, Brigadier General Charles Angina, Erute County North member of parliament, the Honorable Charles Angiro Gutumoi, and Lira District Resident District Commissioner Madam Joan Pacotto also spoke at the dedication ceremony.

This project began nearly two years ago when a U.S. military civil affairs team from CJTF-HOA traveled to northern Uganda looking for projects that could make a difference in the lives of residents there. Civil Affairs teams are a part of CJTF-HOA whose mission is to partner with nations on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, consequence management, civic action programs to include medical and veterinary care, school and medical clinic construction and water development projects.

The construction phase of the bridge took just over two months. NMCB11 Seabees are working on a cantilever bridge nearby.

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