Kenyan Army Commander deepens partnership with U.S. Army Africa visit
March 4, 2011
- Commander of the Kenyan Army, Lt. Gen. Njuki Mwaniki, toured U.S. Army Africa headquarters in Vicenza, Italy
- Senior Kenyan land forces commander stresses communication as key to building relations with U.S. forces
VICENZA, Italy - Commander of the Kenyan Army, Lt. Gen. Njuki Mwaniki, met with U.S. Army Africa leaders and toured the command's headquarters in Vicenza, Italy, Feb. 23-25.
In addition to meeting with U.S. Army Africa Commander, Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg, Mwaniki delivered a presentation on border security issues affecting Kenya and toured some of the installation's skills training facilities and Battle Command Training Center.
The Kenyan general said he was impressed by the sophisticated training and the working relationships he observed among American soldiers and their leaders.
"I think the relationship between the command and the staff, for example between the sergeant major and the staff, is a very good example. That is one of the highlights that I can pick straight away. That shows you it will be a successful command," he said.
Command Sgt. Maj. Hu Rhodes, U.S. Army Africa's senior noncommissioned officer, said visits like this put a personal face to a professional relationship. The command relationship endures changes in personnel; however, a familiar face can make things easier at times.
"All three of the officers that visited were great, but, in particular, the General was impressive in each opportunity I had to spend time with him," Rhodes said. "He is a studied leader that readily shares his experiences. I learned a lot, took a lot of notes, and look forward to meeting his NCO's in the near future."
Mwaniki thinks the military profession is about survival, securing the nation and, in doing so, saving lives.
"That is the bottom line of our profession, therefore, we must be perfect in the task we undertake to secure the nation - there's no substitute for that," he said. "You must have the passion to love what you do - it must be in your genes; it must be in you."
Mwaniki's visit to Vicenza is another building block in an evolving relationship between the Kenyan Army and U.S. Army Africa, and we need to sustain this relationship.
"There's really a relationship now between the U.S. and Africa," he said. "Visits by [Maj. Gen.] Hogg [to Kenya] and my visit here we are able to share our thoughts that ensure not only that [our] relationship is enhanced, but that we understand each other," the Kenyan commander said emphatically.
Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg, commander, USARAF, said the beauty about having the chief of the Kenyan Army visiting us here in Vicenza is absolutely dramatic.
"He's very personable and brand new to the job - we had an opportunity to discuss some of the challenges and issues in Eastern Africa," Hogg said. "We also talked about potential training, missions, exercises, and of course he had the opportunity to come see how U.S. Army Africa operates on a daily basis and see some of our training devises that we use for our Soldiers here," the USARAF commander said.
Mwaniki stressed that communication is critical - it makes you understand the other person.
"We want to get as much as possible, to ensure that we secure and make Africa a better place," Mwaniki said. "Ultimately our problems will be solved by us, but the expediencies of the U.S. in other areas will allow us to solve our problems, and we thank them," he said.