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Banner - 2005 Year in Review
Photo - See Caption
U.S. Navy Lt. Santo P. Cricchio, a Catholic chaplain (left), talks with Sister Ancy John of the Aecole Boules and De La Salle Catholic Primary School in Djibouti, about some last-minute donations that American school children provided. Maj. Philip E. Hynes, future operations, and Lt. Col. Markus U. Hartmann, staff judge advocate, helped carry the boxes, Sept. 7, 2005. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stacy L. Pearsall
American Military Helps Strengthen Horn of Africa Nations

American military forces in the Horn of Africa region worked hard in 2005 to bring aid to the local population and prevent the spread of terrorism.

Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa completed hundreds of projects. These included building and restoring hospitals, clinics, schools, bridges and wells, providing medical and veterinary care, and helping distribute large quantities of food and clothing.

The task force currently operates in Djibouti, Yemen, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya and Uganda, an area two-thirds the size of the United States, populated by 167 million people. Of these, more than 3 million are refugees and 10 million are displaced persons.

“We provide the impact, they provide the sustainability. We build a school, they provide the teachers and the books.”

                                                        Marine Maj. Gen. Timothy Ghormley,
                                                            commander of the Combined Joint                                                                             Task Force Horn of Africa

The U.S. mission in the region is not one of direct force, but of capacity building, said Marine Maj. Gen. Timothy Ghormley, commander of the task force.

“What you have is an area that is at the crossroads,” Ghormley said. “You have nations that want to go forward, that want to join the greater population. They wish to become a part of a functioning society. We want them to be able to enjoy this fidelity and security.”

The work the military is doing in the region is generational, Ghormley said, and will leave a lasting impact. It illustrates that U.S. forces can be used for something other than conflict.

To further these ends, the task force has established a solid working relationship with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

“We provide the impact, they provide the sustainability. We build a school, they provide the teachers and the books,” Ghormley said.

Troops also provide the people of the region with some unusual services, such as veterinary care for their animals. Many local inhabitants heavily depend on their animals for their livelihood. Realizing this fact of life, the task force orchestrated a Veterinary Civil Action event in Yemen.

“The neat thing about this is that we made a big difference for probably 700-plus families, each with their own work animal,” said Army Maj. Jim Riche, veterinarian and team leader, Civic Action Team, 404th Civil Affairs Battalion. “Each animal was extremely valuable to the owner, so we had a larger effect on the human population owning these animals than we originally expected.”

Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa intends to continue its efforts in 2006 with the hope of stemming the spread of radical ideology through goodwill.

“We're waging peace as hard as we can,” Ghormley said.

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