New York Army National Guard's 369th Sustainment Brigade heading to Cameroon, Africa for exercise

By Eric Durr, New York State Division of Military and Naval AffairsApril 23, 2015

New York Army National Guard unit goes back to Africa
New York Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. Justin Lenz, speaks with Malian Army Lt. Abdrahmane Kone during the 369th Sustainment Brigade's deployment to Mali in 2012. The battalion returns to Africa in March to serve as a logistics headquarters f... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

NEW YORK-- Sixty New York Army National Guard Soldiers from New York City's 369th Sustainment Brigade will head to the African country of Cameroon in March to oversee logistics support for a United States military exercise with forces from several African nations exercise called Central Accord 14.

The New York soldiers will coordinate the movement of more than 1,500 troops participating in the exercise and also oversee the shipment delivery of food, fuel, ammunition and other supplies the troops need acting as the command element of Combine Joint Task Force Doula. Doula is the city in Cameroon which will serve as the gateway for troops participating in the training.

Soldiers from the brigade will also provide medical care for military members from all nations participating in the training.

Forces from Cameroon, Chad, Burundi, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and the Netherlands will participate in the three-week exercise.

The exercise is an incredible training opportunity for the 369th's officers, noncommissioned officers and soldiers to hone their skills, said Lt. Col. Jim Gonyo, who will serve as commander of Combined Joint Task Force Doula.

"The focus on supporting an actual operation with units working together in a tactical scenario, as opposed to individuals working in an administrative environment, will enable a better understanding of execution of our sustainment operations in the future, Gonyo said.

"This creates adaptive, agile leaders who can take the experience from this exercise to develop others in the formation for the brigade's federal and state missions. Logistical operations are complicated in any environment; this exercise allows us to truly test our systems and skills in a short duration, focused event in a way that is not easily replicated at home station," he added.

The 881st Movement Control Team from the South Dakota Army National Guard will be attached to the 369th to assist in controlling the movement of troops.

This is the third time the 369th Soldiers have taken part in an exercise run by the United States Africa Command. The unit participated in Atlas Accord 12 in Mali in 2012 and Central Accord 13 in Cameroon last year.

The 369th Sustainment Brigade soldiers are trained to coordinate the actions of logistics units from the U.S. Army and other militaries.

The Central Accord exercise will allow African militaries which participate in the Multinational Force of Central Africa (known as FOMAC from the acronym for its French language name) to practice working with U.S. and Netherlands forces. The troops run through a number of training scenarios which develop their ability to work together.

The 369th Sustainment Brigade is based at the Fifth Avenue Armory in Harlem and traces its lineage back to the 369th Infantry Regiment of World War I. At that time the unit was composed African-American soldiers with some white officers.

Nicknamed the Harlem Hellfighters, the men of the 369th earned 171 Croix de Guerre medals, France's top heroism medal, fighting under French command during the first World War.

Since then soldiers of the 369th have served in World War II, the Persian Gulf War and Iraq and Afghanistan. They have also responded to state emergencies; most recently in 2012 when Superstorm Sandy hit New York City.

Related Links:

New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs

Road to Africa begins in Italy for NY Army National Guard

New York Army Guard unit heading to Mali for logistics exercise

US African Partners ready for Central Accord 13