ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (May 8, 2012) -- During a whirlwind trip to East Africa, Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg, commander, U.S. Army Africa, and a small group of advisers visited U.S. Army troops at Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, or CJTF-HOA, in Djibouti and attended meetings with African Union mission leaders in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, April 24-27.

Initially, Hogg traveled to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, where he, along with USARAF Command Sgt. Maj. Hu Rhodes, USARAF's Political Adviser Alan Latimer, and Security Cooperation Desk Officer Ron Stafford took part in a series of briefings with Air Force Brig. Gen. Eugene Haase, deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. Following the CJTF-HOA briefings, Hogg met with Texas Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve troops currently working in and around Camp Lemonnier.

Hogg explained the significance and the purpose of the trip, known as a senior leader engagement.

"Senior leader engagements are important tools to establish relationships and begin partnerships with our African Land Force partners," Hogg said. "It's critical for us to develop these relationships to open doors for further military-to-military training and solid partnerships for future operations as they occur."

Hogg said the trip to HOA and Ethiopia was unlike other SLEs he has taken.

"This trip was unique in that we traveled to Djibouti to meet with Army personnel. It falls under our Title 10 missions, [meaning we have administrative, legal, finance and logistical oversight]. We met with our soldiers to see how they were doing and discuss any needs we can support at the USARAF level. Though these Army units fall under Adm. [Michael] Franklin at CTJF-HOA, our role is to make sure that the Army supports him," Hogg said.

Hogg stopped-by to meet with members of the U.S. Army 490th Civil Affairs Battalion who provided more than 5,000 backpacks for school children at 16 schools in the Ali Sabieh area. Additionally, Hogg accompanied the civil affairs personnel to a local library to deliver books and other reading material.

U.S. Army civil affairs soldiers have created a relationship with the local library staff, frequently arranging donations of English reading and study materials and creating an English language discussion group.

"I'm impressed by the accomplishments of the civil affairs team. They are doing some great things in Ali Sabieh," Hogg said.

The next stop on the SLE was Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

For Hogg, it was his first official engagement in the Ethiopian capital.

In Addis Ababa, Hogg and his team met with U.S. Defense Attaché officials as well as European and African Union representatives.

"It was an opportunity to get to know the African Union and meet with Ugandan Brig. Gen. Jack Bakasumba, the Eastern Africa Standby Brigade commander," Hogg said. The EASB is made up of personnel from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda, Mauritius, Madagascar, Eritrea, Djibouti, Seychelles, Somalia and Tanzania, "so we're looking at ways we can work with them in the future through the CTJF-HOA."

"In the near future, there may be partnership events with the EASB as observers for a USARAF exercise and perhaps a command post exercise, it's all very positive progress," Hogg said.