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Troops Play Important Role in Horn of Africa Mission, Chairman Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

DJIBOUTI, Aug. 14, 2007 – American servicemembers based in the Horn of Africa are doing an important job that has many implications for the future, the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff said here today.

“What you are doing here is making it so that the Horn of Africa does not appear on the front page of the Washington Post or your local newspapers,” Marine Gen. Peter Pace told the troops. “We are operating in Afghanistan and Iraq right now because the international community was not able to get those nations straight before it was necessary to use force.”

Pace told the servicemembers that what they are doing with coalition partners and the host nations of the region is helping the nations of the Horn of Africa “develop the skills, the capacities, the kind of good governance that’s required so we don’t have to do here what we’re doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Pace said what servicemembers here are doing – digging wells, providing medical aid, training neighboring militaries and so on – will be what more and more U.S. military personnel will be doing in many places around the world.

The interagency nature of the mission has important implications for the U.S. government as a whole, the chairman said. As the military sets up U.S. Africa Command – with an initial capability set for Oct. 1, 2007 – the lessons of the combined joint task force will be amalgamated into the set up of the command.

“We’ll get through Iraq. We’ll get through Afghanistan, but then we’re going to need nations like Djibouti in places around the world to help our nation and their nations prevent the kind of conflict that we’re fighting right now,” Pace said. “I hope you have as much pride and satisfaction in how you are spending this part of your adult life as you deserve to have, because you are making a huge, huge difference.”

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Gen. Peter Pace, USMC

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