Civil affairs officer honored in Uganda
January 27, 2010
AN Army civil affairs officer known for his humanitarian efforts in northern Uganda was posthumously honored when U.S. and Ugandan officials dedicated a school renovation to his memory.
U.S. and East African troops serving in Uganda during Natural Fire 10, a 10-day humanitarian and disaster relief exercise, dedicated a new dining hall at Kitgum High School to Capt. Benjamin Sklaver, a Connecticut native who was killed Oct. 2, 2009, in Afghanistan.
Several senior officials attended an Oct. 23 remembrance ceremony in Sklaver's honor, including Jerry Lanier, U.S. ambassador to Uganda, Gen. William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command and Maj. Gen. William B. Garrett III, commander of U.S. Army Africa. Afterward, Lanier assisted Ugandan officials with an official ribbon cutting.
During the exercise, U.S. Navy Seabees and East African engineering troops worked together to renovate the building, replacing the roof, flooring and broken windows.
A memorial plaque was hung outside the entrance, a reminder of Sklaver's service in Kitgum from October 2006 to October 2007. As a Reserve Soldier, Sklaver worked on projects that provided clean drinking water to the local villages.
"When he left Uganda, he was not content with the impact he made, although that was a considerable impact," said Maj. Clyde Scott, a U.S. Army Africa chaplain, who spoke during the dedication. "He believed you reach out as an American, anywhere in the world."
Sklaver returned to the States and founded the ClearWater Initiative, a non-profit organization focused on providing safe drinking water to people affected by humanitarian emergencies. Thousands of Ugandans have benefitted from Sklaver's military and civilian efforts.
During the ceremony, Kitgum High School students performed a traditional song and dance. Many local leaders and people in the community remembered Sklaver by his nickname, "Moses Ben."