U.S. Soldiers assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Communications Directorate, CJ-6, train alongside Armed Forces of Djibouti (FAD) during a military-to-military exchange of signal communications practices in a field exercise at Arta, Djibouti, March 15 - 18, 2021.
“This is the first time U.S. forces have been integrated in a field training exercise with the FAD’s new signal battalion,” said U.S. Army Maj. Billy Boyd, CJTF-HOA CJ-6 deputy director.
CJ-6 members provided materials, guidance and support during the exercise, such as showing members of the FAD efficient ways of setting up communications equipment and troubleshooting any problems that may occur in the field.
“This was the first time the FAD’s new signal battalion was able to set up their high frequency antennas and establish communications in different areas for the exercise,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joel Nelson, CJ-6 plans and projects noncommissioned officer in charge. “Because of this exercise they can now go out into the field pre-trained on their communication equipment.”
The FAD and U.S. Soldiers set up high frequency antennas to enable long range communications with their counterparts as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
“We were able to show expedient ways of setting up their antennas, working on cabling and in exchange we were able to learn their methods and communication procedures,” said 1st Lt. Scott Schladweiler, CJ-6-5 planning manager, CJTF-HOA.
The FAD’s exercise scenario took place in Arta, We’a, at FAD headquarters and in Somalia. The scenario was developed to see how far the soldiers have come in their training.
“We had challenges during this exercise,” said Capt. Abdoulaziz Amhed, FAD deputy signal commander. “It was one big job, but it was important for us and our U.S. allies to work together.”
The signal engagement team and the FAD plan to continue working together to strengthen their signal capabilities and partnership with each other.
“Interacting with them, seeing how they operate, and how they conduct business, you get a different view of what's going on here and the role [the FAD] plays in the bigger picture of East Africa,” said Boyd.