Journalists from Angola and Mozambique enjoyed an evening of American food and conversation during a potluck social at AFRICOM Public Affairs Executive Officer Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dave Hecht’s residence as part of a weeklong media delegation visit to AFRICOM, July 24.
Along with representatives from U.S. Embassy staffs in Angola and Mozambique, 11 journalists were invited by AFRICOM Public Affairs and selected by embassy staff to participate in a five-day program designed to enhance journalists’ understanding of the command’s mission on the continent, conducted July 21-25, 2014 at the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany.
The social event was intended to give the visitors a chance to meet the staff in an out of uniform setting around families and really let their hair down to get to know one another.
AFRICOM Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Michael Kingsley said the event was a great idea and offered his sincere welcome.
“We want to open our houses to our guests and we also want to open ourselves up to having a great relationship and partnership with your countries,” said Kingsley. “It is very much a pleasure for me to get to know some of you, to learn your cultures and to learn who you are as people; because we all better ourselves through our relationships.”
The guests were also presented certificates of appreciation by the Chief of Staff and AFRICOM Public Affairs Officer, Lt. Col. Mark Cheadle. Benjamin Chabualo, Senior Press Adviser to the Minister of Defense Office of Mozambique, said he was thankful for the opportunity to visit the command.
“We came to see AFRICOM. We were invited to come and learn about AFRICOM, but AFRICOM is actually people. It’s made of people,” said Chabualo. “We saw AFRICOM’s team at work, we learned, we discussed, but what was missing was the social. We would like to thank you for opening your home to us.”
Prior media delegation visits included journalists from Libya in September 2009, Senegal in December 2009, Ghana in February 2010, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in July 2010, Uganda in July 2011, Kenya and Zambia in June 2012, Nigeria in January 2013, South Africa in March 2013, and Algeria and Mauritania in December 2013.
Besides receiving briefings from AFRICOM staff, the Angola and Mozambique media delegation visited local area, to include the American Forces Network station at Robinson Barracks, Stuttgart Army Airfield, meet with Stuttgart city hall officials, and ended the week with a question and answer session with General David Rodriguez, AFRICOM’s commanding general.