Posts Tagged 'US'

African Village Reception

Master Sergeant Donald Sparks, Flintlock 10 Public Affairs wrote:

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Today as my party entered the Malian community of Jiwoyo to conduct a medical civil action program, we were greeted with the rhythmic sound of drums and celebratory wailing and singing of women in colorful African garb.

As I stood and watched, goose bumps covered my skin and I can honestly say now that I have experienced the trueness of my ancestors of which my brown pigmentation began.

Different hues of brown skin circled around me with grins — both warm and wide as the African sky made me feel right at home.

I held the worn and wrinkled hands of the elder women, much like those of my dear late grandmother, hands which have toiled their homeland, which have raised generations of black babies and have fed the men who treasure their existence.

I was in the company of the elders, men who like my very own grandfather, passed on the wisdom of lessons learned from walking the earth down to their seeds of their loins. These wise men have dealt with austere weather conditions whether it was in the form of drought, floods or locusts, yet they endure all that the elements hurl to them mercilessly.

And the women and the children danced, oh did they dance! I watched in awe as their bodies, synchronized with each drum beat. I watched their feet stomp the earth sending sound waves and red sand in the air. I held back tears of joy of being the first African American in my family to set foot on the soil affectionately known to us as the “Motherland.”

I wonder if this is how Alex Hailey felt after writing Roots and coming to Africa to meet his ancestors.

This day I will never forget as I am blessed. As the regional mayor of the area said to me after I told him that I was African American, “You are home here too.” Indeed I was.

(Editor’s note Master Sergeant Donald Sparks is currently assigned as the Exercise Flintlock 10 Public Affairs Chief in Mali. He is providing photojournalistic coverage of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara during the special operations forces exercise from Mali, Africa.)

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AFRICOM-related news clips for 5 January 2010

Africa Command Revamps Multinational, Interagency Cooperation Strategies

SIGNAL Magazine – By Maryann Lawlor

January 2010

The latest combatant command to join the ranks in the U.S. Defense Department has set out on a different mission than its well-established brethren. From its very conception, the U.S. Africa Command has been designed to help the nations in its area of responsibility to help themselves. Since its inception two years later, it has been fulfilling that vision with assistance from other U.S. government agencies in an area that comprises 53 countries that include more than 800 ethnic groups who speak more than 1,000 languages. In essence, it is not a typical combatant command.

Exercise in Africa Breaks Many Molds

SIGNAL Magazine – By Rita Boland

January 2010

African nations are overcoming the tyranny of distance posed by their massive continent through an exercise designed to increase command, control, communications and computer capacity. Representatives from more than two dozen African countries met in Gabon at the end of last September through the beginning of October to test technology compatibility. The event helps build relationships and enhance interoperability during disaster relief and peacekeeping missions. The most recent effort built off past exercises and included a variety of first-time occurrences. It also identified new areas of need such as the addition of an information assurance technical working group.

U.S. Marine Corps weighs merits of Africa task force

World Sentinel – By non-attributed author

4 January 2010

Talks are underway to add a special-purpose Marine air-ground task force to U.S. Africa Command, a move that would center on expanding efforts to train African militaries, officials say. The plan is "purely in the conceptual phase," said Master Sgt. Grady Fontana, a spokesman for Marine Corps Forces Africa, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. "… It´s just something that people are talking about as a way that can help support Africa Command."

Delta 4 assigned to deliver military satellite into orbit

Spaceflight Now – By Justin Ray

4 January 2010

The U.S. Air Force has tapped the Delta 4 as its rocket of choice to launch the fourth Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft two years from now, officials announced Monday.

U.S. helping get Nigeria’s C-130s back off the ground

Stars and Stripes – By Jennifer H. Svan

5 January 2010

Mideast edition-As the United States looks to build strategic partnerships with African countries, it’s investing a lot of hope in Nigeria.

Bomb attempt a wake-up call for Nigeria

CNN – By Princeton N. Lyman

4 January 2010

Washington, D.C. (CNN) — Americans were alarmed to learn of the attempt to bring down an American airliner over Detroit, Michigan, on Christmas Day. But Nigerians were especially shocked to learn that one of their own, Umar Farouk AbdulMuttalab, was the perpetrator.

Nigeria Regrets Inclusion on US Screening List

Voice of America – By Gilbert Da Costa

4 January 2010

Nigeria wants the US to reconsider its inclusion on a list of countries whose air travelers will be subjected to enhanced security screening techniques. The new security measures come into effect in response to the Christmas Day bombing attempt on a US airliner.

Kenya Seeks To Deport Muslim Cleric To Jamaica

New York Times – By Alan Cowell

4 January 2010

LONDON — The Kenyan authorities were reported on Monday to be planning to deport a Jamaican-born Muslim cleric, Abdullah el-Faisal, who may have helped inspire the Nigerian man accused of trying to bomb an American airliner headed to Detroit on Christmas Day.

UN News Service Africa Briefs

Full Articles on UN Website

31 December 2009 – 4 January 2010

*Uptick in attacks forces UN food agency to shut down programmes in Somalia

*UN helping to monitor volcanic eruption in eastern DR Congo

*UN envoy urges Sudan to work for stability, security in 2010

*DR Congo: UN rushes food to thousands displaced by ethnic fighting

*UNICEF speaks out against child deaths in northern Nigerian clashes

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