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Djibouti Air Force, Camp Lemonier Work to Build Stronger Partnership

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071216-06
Release Date: 12/16/2007 5:36:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mary Popejoy, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Public Affairs

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti (NNS) -- The commanding officer of Camp Lemonier met with the maintenance officer and the chief of the Djiboutian air force Dec. 10 to coordinate several future projects.

Capt. John Heckmann Jr., spoke with Djibouti air force Capt. Abdillahi Hassan, maintenance officer, and Djibouti air force Col. Aden Dahir, Djibouti Air Force chief, about joint security patrols and the land transfer that will be taking place in the near future.

Meeting attendees included Marine Lt. Col. Thomas Foos, 8th Provisional Security Company commanding officer; Army Maj. Matthew Romagnoulo, U.S. Embassy liaison office representative; Marine Lt. Col. Aaron F. Potter, 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense (LAAD) Battalion commanding officer; Marine Maj. Wayne Zuber, 3rd LAAD Battalion executive officer.

"This lunch was an opportunity to further relations between Camp Lemonier and the Djibouti air force because we go on security patrols together and it allows us to explore ways to further expand that security," said Potter.

The meeting also discussed the land transfer that will be taking place between Camp Lemonier and the Djibouti air force. Currently, Camp Lemonier is redefining its perimeter, so they can return a portion of the land back to Djibouti for their mission requirements.

"It's nice to be able to get to know them as we continue our joint patrols and as we plan to transfer the land as smoothly as we can," said Heckmann.

Having an open dialogue with host nation counterparts allows both sides to see more than just the military side of each other.

"Anytime we can have a better social interaction with our counterparts it helps us build trust and confidence with them," said Heckmann. "They know us as a person first and professionally second."

According to Dahir, there is a valued partnership fostered with the U.S. military.

"Our friendship is very good, and we're always working to improve it because together we can do more for this country," said Dahir.

Being friends and not just military allies goes a long way in executing the daily missions that take place at Camp Lemonier.

"These relationships are critical to helping us do our mission here, and that's why they are always welcome to stop by and discuss any concerns they may have," said Heckmann.

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