Djiboutian Military Works With American
Forces to Perfect Small Boat Operations

By Cpl. Jeff M. Nagan

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti (CJTF) – Explosives Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 8 recently taught soldiers of the Djiboutian military how to accomplish water borne missions and small boat operations.

The Djiboutian servicemembers learned navigation skills, water survival and beach reconnaissance, which are skills they can teach to their soldiers, according to Petty Officer 1st Class Chad L. Harris, EOD senior technician, Mobile Unit 8.

“They requested the training, and since we have the capability to train them, we are,” Harris said. “We are training 10 to 14 leaders to train the rest of their troops. We are instructing them on how to instruct their troops.”

Although the Djiboutian soldiers haven’t done regular missions in water, the training they’ve received will help strengthen their military’s capability, Harris said. Fighting the global war on terrorism requires each nation to maximize their capabilities.

“The soldiers are excited about learning, and they want to learn more,” Harris said. “They haven’t had much boat experience. This class has broadened their training aspect and has made them better soldiers.”

When the course first started, many of the students didn’t know what to expect, said Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Wallis, EOD technician, Mobile Unit 8. However, once the classes began, the students were anxious and excited to be there learning, and the instructors were excited to teach.

“This is our first time interacting with foreign nationals in a teaching environment,” Wallis said. “We’re pretty excited about doing it. This is one of the best things I’ve had the chance to do since being in Djibouti.”

For many of the Djiboutian soldiers, this is a first for them, Wallis said. The classes have given the Djiboutian servicemembers a chance to interact with American military personnel, which for many of them is their first time.

“This class has helped establish a better relationship between Djibouti and the American military,” Wallis said. “It has also helped the soldiers to better protect themselves and fight terrorism.”

US General Warns of Terror Threat in Horn Of Africa

(VOA) The head of U.S. anti-terrorism forces in the Horn of Africa says members of al-Qaida and other militant groups are using lawless parts of the region to train and plan new attacks.

In an interview with Reuters news service, Major General Samuel Helland said rooting out militants from the region has been difficult due to their ability to blend in with local populations.

The general said U.S. forces are helping governments in the area with security training to counter the threat, and said this assistance includes helping civilians in those countries.

The operating area for the U.S. anti-terrorism taskforce includes Kenya and Tanzania, where U.S. embassies were attacked by terrorists in 1998, and Yemen, where militants attacked the Navy ship USS Cole in 2000.