Operation Enduring Freedom

A pictorial view of Colonel Chris Miller's experiences in Djibouti

Camp Lemonier : Visit "The Bucca" : Tour the AOR : Write Me

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After literally years of trying to volunteer for a CENTCOM tour of duty, I finally scored one that didn't require GO approval - 10 weeks as the deputy commanding officer of the Joint Special Operations Task Force - Horn of Africa (JSOTF-HOA). The unit was small, and under the shadow of both a Combined Joint Task Force that owned the AOR and Special Operations Command Central, so working there was a tightrope walking experience. Also, while I was there, the unit was redesignated a Special Operations Command and Control Element (SOCCE), which has a slightly different role, and correspondingly fewer people. I was already filling an O-5 slot as an O-6, and this made the rank structure even more top-heavy. But I digress.
First of all, I couldn't get a lot of pictures of my own (for several reasons, not the least of which is that I was lazy). So, if you want to see some photos that I didn't get a chance to take, check out the official CJTF-HOA website here.
Djibouti’s strategic importance in fighting terrorism in the Horn of Africa cannot be underestimated. Djibouti sits astride the Bab el-Mandab strait, one of the world's oil transit chokepoints. Directly across the strait is Yemen and the Arabian penisula. Almost 2,000 American sailors, airmen, soldiers and Marines are stationed at Camp Lemonier, disrupting terrorist activities and working with regional governments to establish security, train local militaries, share intelligence, and provide humanitarian aid.

Just south of town is Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport, serviced primarily by Da'alo Airlines, Emirates Air, and Air France. On the far side of the airport is Camp Lemonier - my home for the duration of my stay. Camp Lemonier was under the command of the US Marine Corps while I was there, and hosted the CJTF, the JSOTF/SOCCE, a provisional airlift wing primarily responsible for search and rescue (CSAR) throughout HOA, and a rifle company for security purposes. There were also a host of civilians, primarily employed by KBR - a division of Halliburton responsible for services and support.

E-Mail Last updated on 2 May 2006 by Chris Miller Go Top

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