USS MOUNT WHITNEY (LCC/JCC 20) -- Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa completed a scheduled visit today to the port city of Victoria in the Republic of Seychelles island chain.
Upon arriving Jan. 28, CJTF-HOA commander, Maj. Gen. John F. Sattler hosted a luncheon for Seychelles dignitaries aboard the unit's flagship, along with the ship's commanding officer, Capt. David W. Prothero.
The Seychelles delegation was led by Mr. Andre Kilindo, Commissioner of Police and also included representatives from the Seychelles People's Defense Forces, Coast Guard, and Port and Marine Services. Ms. Susane Rose from the U.S. Consular Agency, Victoria accompanied the delegation.
Four degrees south of the equator in the western corner of the Indian Ocean, the democratic republic of the Seychelles archipelago comprises some 115 granite and coral islands. First colonized by the French in 1770, with no indigenous inhabitants, today the population of the 177 square mile island chain is nearly 80,000.
CJTF-HOA spent 55 days patrolling the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean areas overseeing operations in the Horn of Africa region for U.S. Central Command in support of the global war against terrorism. The port call provided the CJTF-HOA headquarters service members and the ship's crew an opportunity to go ashore for several days before returning to operations.
The port visit follows recent talks between Sattler and many coalition military commanders and host nation officials, establishing a dialogue with key leaders throughout the Horn of Africa region.
Most recently, CJTF-HOA operated off the coast of Mombasa, Kenya in late January. While ashore, meetings with cabinet ministers and other Kenyan government and military leaders focused on the common goal of defeating terrorism across the region.
CJTF-HOA now heads back on-station to the waters of the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean to continue its mission - to detect, disrupt and defeat transnational terrorist groups in the Horn of Africa region and support coalition partner efforts to deny the opportunity for reemergence of terrorist networks.
For this operation, CJTF-HOA is defining the Horn of Africa region as the airspace, land areas and adjacent waters of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Yemen.
The CJTF headquarters has about 400 members, representing all U.S. armed services, civilian personnel and Coalition forces - all aboard one of the U.S. Navy's most sophisticated command and control ships, USS Mount Whitney, home-ported in Norfolk, Va.
CJTF-HOA forces also include about 900 personnel at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti and a small number of liaison personnel working in other parts of the region.
CJTF-HOA arrived on-station in the Gulf of Aden on Dec. 12 after sailing Nov. 14 from Morehead City, N.C. with a staff comprised principally of members from 2d Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, N.C.