Special Operations Command and Control Element - Horn of Africa (SOCCE-HOA)
Special Operations Command and Control Element - Horn of Africa (SOCCE-HOA) focuses on planning, coordinating, synchronizing, and command and control of special operations in support of the Commander, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) to promote regional stability, prevent conflict, combat violent extremist organizations and advance U.S. strategic objectives within Eastern Africa.
In December 2005, Joint Special Operations Task Force - Horn of Africa (JSOTF-HOA) was transformed into Special Operations Command and Control Element - Horn of Africa (SOCCE-HOA), as part of an increase in the element's overall force size, though the unit's mission remained the same. The unit remained assigned to Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) and under the operational control of the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). With the formal activation of US Africa Command (AFRICOM) in 2008, SOCCE-HOA was reassigned to Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA). The unit remained under the operational control of CJTF-HOA, which was also reassigned to AFRICOM.
SOCCE-HOA supplied special operations forces in late 2011 to support Operation Observant Compass, which provided US support to help counter the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Eastern Africa. A total of 100 service members and civilians were to deploy to the region, including combat-equipped teams and headquarters, communications and logistics personnel. The US forces were not to engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense, and were primarily to be involved in training local military forces in Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. Foreign internal defense is a traditional mission of US Army Special Forces personnel. The personnel deployed would be sent to regional capitals and other areas to work with governments, their militaries, and the peacekeeping missions in order for these forces to counter the LRA threat and protect civilians. The State Department would oversee the 3 other parts of the plan: to protect civilians, disarm and dismantle the LRA, and provide humanitarian relief to areas affected by the guerrilla militia.
On 21 December 2013, three CV-22B Osprey aircraft, likely from the US Air Force Special Operations Command's 7th Special Operations Squadron, an element of the 352nd Special Operations Group based in England and part of Special Operations Command, Europe, attempted evacuation of US civilians trapped by the fighting in Bor, South Sudan. The aircraft were fired upon by forces on the ground an all 3 were damaged, resulting in 4 personnel, later identified as US Navy SEALs, being wounded. The mission was subsequently aborted and the aircraft, which had launched from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, diverted to Entebbe, Uganda. The wounded SEALs were transferred by C-17A to Nairobi, Kenya for immediate medical treatment. Three of the four were then medically evacuated to Landstuhl Army Hospital in Germany on 24 December 2013, while the fourth was eventually moved there after his condition stabilized. No fatalities were reported among US forces during the operation. This special operations mission was likely at least coordinated by SOCCE-HOA.
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