For the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Sentinels of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Thanksgiving will be spent thousands of miles away from family. While the mission does not stop, even for the holidays, service members were given a little slice of home Nov. 23.
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Michael Langley, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) commander, and U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Michael Woods, command senior enlisted leader, visited Camp Lemonnier to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with deployed troops, and kicked off the day with a football tournament where teams from the various services went head-to-head.
After the game, Langley, Woods and leaders from CJTF-HOA and Camp Lemonnier stepped behind the serving line in the Dorie Miller Galley to dish out some Thanksgiving food to service members as a show of appreciation for their dedication to the mission all year long.
“On this Thanksgiving Day in Djibouti, we stand together, united in gratitude and support for our extraordinary troops,” said Langley. “While miles away from home, our shared tradition of camaraderie and service brings us closer as one military family. Let this day be a reminder that no distance can diminish the strength of our bond.”
On his trip, Langley also made time to recognize and present a coin to 7 service members for outstanding performance within their units. Among them was U.S. Army Spc. Beatrice Namwerka, from the 1782nd Engineer Support Squadron based out of South Carolina. Namwerka is currently on her first deployment.
“I feel honored,” she said. “Honestly, I didn’t see this coming and I didn’t get here on my own. All I can say is ‘Thank you’ to my (non-commissioned officers) and fellow soldiers that helped me to do better.”
The Task Force is based on the only enduring U.S. military installation on the continent of Africa.