By Rick Scavetta, U.S. Army AfricaFebruary 2, 2010
VICENZA, Italy -- Leaders from U.S. Army Africa welcomed Maj. Gen. Wynjones Matthew Kisamba to the command headquarters at Caserma Ederle on Jan. 27.
Kisamba, who is the land forces commander for the Tanzania People's Defense Force, is the first senior African military officer to visit the headquarters since U.S. Army Africa became the Army service component command for U.S. Africa Command.
"It is an honor and a privilege for me to visit this place," Kisamba said.
Maj. Gen. William B. Garrett III, commander of U.S. Army Africa, met Kisamba beside the Fallen Warrior Memorial near Hoekstra Field. Having met on several occasions during 2009, their informal conversations spoke of a growing friendship between the two leaders.
"This visit offers us an outstanding opportunity to build upon our previous interactions," Garrett said. "Tanzania plays a key role in regional efforts for stability and peace. U.S. Army Africa's goal is to build a cooperative relationship and enduring partnership that contributes to Tanzania's land force capabilities."
U.S. Army Africa leaders briefed Kisamba on the command's mission, forging partnerships with African land forces to foster securing, stability and peace on the African continent.
During his two-day visit, Kisamba toured Caserma Ederle, stopping first at training simulators that Soldiers use prior to deploying. Then he toured the U.S. Army Health Center-Vicenza, saw the post exchange and visited the commissary. Kismaba also went to nearby Longare to get a closer look at U.S. Army Africa's deployable command and control center.
"We are exploring ways we can strengthen our cooperation, to build African capacity and capabilities," Kisamba said. "I've learned a lot. I'm now in position to seek avenues that Tanzania can learn from."
Kisamba's visit follows several recent senior-level interactions between the U.S. and Tanzania, to include his April 2009 discussions with Garrett at the Land Forces Symposium in Kenya, Garrett's July 2009 visit to Dar es Salaam. Kisamba was among Tanzanian forces participating in Natural Fire 10, an October 2009 humanitarian and disaster response exercise led by U.S. Army Africa in Uganda.
Spending time at U.S. Army Africa headquarters allowed the senior leaders to plan for future partnerships efforts, which in turn will help Tanzania's military accomplish its goals, Kisamba said.
A main priority for the TDPF is to train and support its soldiers serving with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan. Tanzanian troops also serve in peacekeeping missions in Lebanon and CAfA'te d'Ivoire. Response to disasters, cross-border crimes and sea piracy are also priorities for Tanzania's military, Kisamba said.
Instability in Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are African problems, Kisamba said. But the U.S. military can have a role in defusing violence on the continent.
"The best way is for our American partners to empower Africans to solve problems themselves," Kisamba said.
This year, U.S. Army Africa coordinated military familiarization events with the TPDF, focusing on medical issues, logistics and intelligence during peacekeeping operations. Tanzania also participates in the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program, a U.S. State Department-led effort that prepares partner nations for peacekeeping missions.
"U.S. Army training is relevant to our training," Kisamba said. "We're inviting the U.S. to work with us, to explore building capacity and capabilities - avenues to ensure peace and stability in Africa."