By Army Staff Sgt. Timothy Moore, Combined Joint Task Force Horn of AfricaJanuary 24, 2018
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti -- As part of the U.S. military's efforts to work with African partners in combatting extremism and terrorism on the African continent, U.S. Army Soldiers trained their Djiboutian allies in secure communications during a military-to-military exchange here, Jan. 8-17.
The communications experts exchanged information with Djiboutian military partners on how to effectively operate, maintain and troubleshoot their communications equipment throughout the two-week period.
"They've been doing a great job overall," said Army Spc. Taylor Noble, a multisystem transmission operator and maintainer posted with Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa. "They came in with a great deal of knowledge already, so I'm easily able to teach them more advanced techniques on how to operate their equipment."
The Djiboutians also had the opportunity to teach fellow service members about the new expertise they had acquired during the exchange.
"I'm a big fan of when you teach, you learn," Noble said. "Every time I've taught, I've run into problems that make me think on my feet, make me think critically. For them to go and teach not only shows they effectively know what I've taught them, but also shows they can further their knowledge when they go back and show this to their troops."
Participants learned how to setup and breakdown antennas, acquire satellite signals, create and connect cables and troubleshoot connection problems.
"A lot of the time they use this equipment for information to support their mission, to keep them safe as well as keep whoever they're supporting safe," Noble said.
As a troop-contributing country to the African Union Mission in Somalia, Djibouti works with other African nations and CJTF-HOA to strengthen the defense capabilities against violent extremist organizations in Somalia and the rest of the region.
According to its official website, AMISOM is an active regional peace support mission set up by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union with the full support of the United Nations.
AMISOM's principal aim is to provide support for the Federal Government of Somalia in its efforts to stabilize the country and foster political dialogue and reconciliation. While its military component has members from 13 African nations, the bulk of its troops come from six countries: Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone.
"Our goal is that the Djiboutians can effectively pass their acquired knowledge on without us being there because we want to assist them become more self-sustained," Noble said.
Because the soldiers are from different countries, language can be a hindrance to military exchanges, but that stress was alleviated as one of the U.S. soldiers spoke French and was able to act as a translator during the exchange.
"[Acting as a translator] lets them know that we are here for them," said Army Spc. Matthew Jousselin, a multisystem transmission operator and maintainer. "It helps them better understand our system and helps us better understand their questions, as well."
Jousselin added, "We're exchanging information that helps them and us, particularly information that helps with national security and how to suppress. You're able to shake hands with other people who have a common interest, and are here for the same mission. It's a great opportunity."