Contact Us Press Releases
TRANSCRIPT: Marine Corps Forces, Africa Officially Established
Marine Corps Forces, Africa (MARFORAF) was officially established as the Marine Corps' newest command at a ceremony in Boeblingen, Germany, on November 14, 2008. The command will support U.S. Africa Command in its efforts to increase African
Marine Corps Forces, Africa (MARFORAF) was officially established as the Marine Corps' newest command at a ceremony in Boeblingen, Germany, on November 14, 2008. The command will support U.S. Africa Command in its efforts to increase African security capacity. The ceremony was led by Brigadier General Tracy L. Garrett, commander of Marine Forces, Europe (MARFOREUR), who stated, "The primary focus of the new command will be on engagement--through theater security cooperation activities--bringing U.S. Marine Corps competencies to the table in support of U.S. Africa Command." General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, welcomed MARFORAF to the Africa Command team and provided an overview of its mission, programs, and goals. "You already have a strong foundation as Marine Corps Forces Africa," Ward said. "Now it is time to build on those programs currently in place and creatively come up with programs that deliver results and help the Africans build and maintain their own security capacity, which in turn, maintains greater security for our American homeland." The transcripts of speeches by Ward and Garrett are available below: WARD: Well, we are into a fantastic, fantastic morning this morning, and if you discount a little bit of fog and if you discount the brisk, crisp chill in the air, and you account for the fantastic -inaudible- and to see that professionalism, it all kind of balances. And the good thing is when you add the nice little prayer that the chaplain delivered, you kind of stay in equilibrium today, and being in equilibrium is a good thing, don't you think so? I think so too. It's really good being with you this morning. It really is a special occasion, and General Garret, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this special occasion. One of the very best parts of my job is the opportunities I have to take part in history-making endeavors such as this. And today, your stand up as Marine Forces, Africa the Marine Corps component of United States Africa Command - opens a new chapter in the history book of positive Marine Corps involvement on the African continent. You are joining a new unified command team a team that is intent on making its teammates better! Thatts something that goes both ways: the U.S. Africa Command and the U.S. Marine Forces Africa, helping to make each other better and effective in ways that benefit everyone. I say a new chapter,, because the history books are already filled with Marine Corps contributions to security and stability in Africa. Your own hymn reverberates that vibrant history. And so, it is my privilege to welcome you Marine Forces, Africa to the United States Africa Command team, and to all of you here this morning participating in and also witnessing the ceremony, thank you for your attendance. I see, obviously, my team here, staff, so thank all you for being a part of this. And also -inaudible- and so I appreciate your presence here as well, and obviously the other part of the marine forces here in Stuttgart, Marine Forces Europe as well, so thank you to each of you for being here. Constructing a new command is a major undertaking. What you are doing now will create something that will make a real difference, that will add value for the people of Africa and for our Nation. MARFOREURRs work on continent was noteworthy. But now as MARFORAF, you will have the opportunity to focus efforts on programs that take place on the continent, and so doing, this represents a quantum leap forward, and one that a growing number of our African partners realize and recognize as being a good thing. To make those capacity-building efforts a reality, let me talk briefly about the unified command that you are now joining. United States Africa Commandds mission: In concert with other United States Government agencies and international partners, conduct sustained security engagement through military to military programs, military sponsored activities and other military operations as directed to promote a stable and more secure African environment in support of United States foreign policy.. That is a big mission, but what does it mean? We have committed ourselves to the delivery and sustainment of effective security cooperation programs. We recognize the importance of following through on a program. And, we will be a reliable partner, building trust and confidence with all those we work with on the continent whether they are our African partners, our fellow U.S. Government agencies, or our international partners. Now you, as our Marine Component Command, will do the same. Your primary focus will be to help build partner security capacity on the continent. You will do this through a variety of security assistance programs such as military-to-military events, exercises, and humanitarian assistance missions that help to professionalize the military services of our African partner nations and organizations. Our partners in Africa want to build professional militaries that respect the rule of law and serve their people, just like we do. They also seek to prevent the next conflict, and thereby allow their developmental activities - from economic development to political, and societal development to flourish. After all, security and development go hand-in-hand. United States Marine Forces Africa, United States Marine Corps Forces Africa, a whole lot can be said in that. You are a major enabler in this effort. You are leaders on the exercise front and your contributions in fiscal year 09 and beyond will be significant. Exercise AFRICAN LION and SHARED ACCORD are two of the more prominent and robust exercises on the continent and you will be leading the way. The contribution to partner capacity building efforts that hundreds of Marines make in these exercises and other activities will be significant. We should also recognize that small units even individuals can make a big impact in building the security capacity of our partners on the continent. I talked about Africanss desires to professionalize their militaries well, a United States Marine offers an excellent role model toward that end. In the coming year, small groups of Marines -- Platoon level, Squad-level, and even individuals will be making a big impact on the African continent. Some examples: In Liberia, Security Sector Reform efforts small group - big imact on a high priority Security Sector Reform effort. Africa Partnership Station: one of our most effective mechanisms for the delivery of maritime security. A Platoon sized equivalent Marine contingent training six West African Partner nations starting in January. Small unit- big impact. ACOTA training, the African Logistics Initiative, Non-Lethal Weapons training I could go on and on. The point is: we can achieve positive results with exceptional Marines operating in small groups. Big Impact! But there is one thing I must stress. While each activity benefits our partners, you must remember that the effects that we desire and that our partners desire are long term effects. Long term effects. They will not likely come about in a year, or two years. This is why I charge you with helping your teammates at U.S. Africa Command deliver sustained security engagement by building enduring relationships. You are already doing that and as you undertake these efforts, be sure to be active and engage with our partners, listening and learning things from their perspective. Listening and learning from their perspective. I want you to be sure to partner with your fellow service component commands on the team and be inclusive, be transparent in all that you do. Always look to improve the team and transfer understanding across the organization. You already have a strong foundation as Marine Corps Forces Africa. Now it is time to build on those programs currently in place and creatively come up with programs that deliver results and help the Africans build and maintain their own security capacity, which in turn, maintains greater security for our American homeland. I am confident that you are up to this great opportunity. Again, I welcome all of you to the team. Good luck in the months ahead and as you grow and mold the Marine Corpss newest Command into something that's really great, meaningful and special! I also want to take this opportunity to wish the Marine Corps happy birthday. Great, great time to celebrate and -inaudible-this magnificent organization. In the words of my buddy, -inaudible- SEMPER FIDELIS, Marines! GARRETT: Welcome to GEN Ward and to the distinguished guests joining Marine Forces Africa on this historic occasion. Many thanks to the US Naval Forces Europe Brass Quintet, the officers, Marines and Sailors in formation and the Sergeant Major of Marine Forces Africa for the fine ceremony. We gather to recognize a new organization but not a new relationship. We should remember today that Morocco was first to recognize the fledgling United States as an independent nation in 1777. In the beginning of the American Revolution, American merchant ships were subject to attack by the Barbary Pirates while sailing the Atlantic Ocean. At that time, American envoys tried to obtain protection from European powers, but to no avail. On December 20, 1777, Morocco's Sultan Mohammed III declared that the American merchant ships would be under the protection of the sultanate and could thus enjoy safe passage. The Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship stands as the U.S.'s oldest non-broken friendship treaty. Signed by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, it has been in continuous effect since 1786. Following the re-organization of the U.S. federal government upon the 1787 Constitution, President George Washington wrote a now venerated letter to Sultan Sidi Mohamed strengthening the ties between our two countries. Some years later, during the First Barbary War of the early 18000s, the U.S. achieved a major victory when William Eton, a special U.S. naval agent, led a small force in capturing the Tripolitan port city of Derna. Eaton's force - eight U.S. Marines under Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon and several hundred foreign mercenaries - had marched 500 miles from Egypt to Derna and were assisted by a coordinated bombardment of Derna by U.S. naval vessels. Eaton's ultimate mission, approved by President Thomas Jefferson, was to replace the ruling pasha of Tripoli with the rightful ruler, Prince Hamet. The phrase "to the shores of Tripoli" in our Mariness Hymn refers to the Derna campaign, which was the first engagement of U.S. land forces in North Africa. In gratitude to 1st Lt OOBannon, Prince Hamet presented him with a cross-hilted, curved, scimitar-like sword historically used by Mameluke warriors from whom the sword derives its name. Marine Corps Commandant Archibald Henderson adopted the Mameluke sword in 1825 for wear by all Marine officers. After initial distribution in 1826, Mameluke swords have been worn by Marine officers in a continuing tradition to the present day. A modern version of the sword was used during our recent Marine Corps birthday celebration to cut the cake. This is a new era for the United Statess engagement in Africa. Today, our mission at Marine Forces Africa is to advise GEN Ward and his staff in the proper employment, capabilities and support of US Marine Corps forces to facilitate the accomplishment of the Africa Command objectives in the region. We partner with Africa Command and other agencies and efforts of the US government to assist Africans in establishing their own security. As a Service, we stand ready to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. And we seek to align with and work through existing African security organizations. I am very proud to be a plank-holder in Marine Forces Africa and look forward to being a part of the contributions of Marines and of America to the stability and prosperity of the nations of Africa in the days ahead. Thank you.