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II MEF CG visits CJTF-HOA troops

By Sgt. Matthew B. Roberson | | November 3, 2003

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The 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force commanding general (II MEF), Lt. Gen. Henry P. Osman, visited Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa here, October 30th to meet with and congratulate Marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen on a job well done.

During his visit, Osman toured the camp talking to units about the importance of their job in the region, thanking them for the hard work and dedication they showed on a daily basis.

The majority of the Marines stationed at CJTF-HOA are deployed from II MEF. This visit gave Osman a chance to see first hand where and how his assets are being employed, and also served as an opportunity to congratulate and thank the troops face-to-face.

After his walk through, Osman addressed the troops saying, "All of you are sacrificing a lot to be here, and I'm proud to be wearing the same uniform as you.

"Nothing makes me madder than to hear someone say something bad about the young men and women serving our country today.  You stood up to be counted, and you're serving your country in a great fashion."

He went on to share his thoughts about the CJTF and what the future looks like in this part of the country.

"A lot of people, in fact probably everyone in D.C., know about this thing called the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.  They know we have a group of people here in Djibouti as part of the war on terrorism," Osman said. "But a lot of those people really don't know exactly what it is you do."

During his tour of Camp Lemonier, Osman received briefs on exactly what the mission and role of CJTF-HOA was and how the service members here have impacted terrorists in the region.  He shared this information with the service members here saying, "You've had an impact.  Disruption is the word that comes to mind when you think about the joint task force, and it's the word that jumped out at me while I was receiving briefs.

"What you've accomplished, and you probably aren't even aware of it, is you've disrupted terrorists plans," he continued.  "Since the Joint Task Force has been here, there have been no terrorist attacks in this region."

Osman was quick to point out that the war was far from over and the CJTF-HOA still had an essential role in the Global War on Terrorism.

"Just because we've disrupted their plans it doesn't mean the war is over, it means we've won a battle," Osman said.  "You've won a battle, and you should feel very good about that.  We haven't completely stopped them though.  There are still a lot of terrorists out there determined to kill people, particularly Americans, and given the chance that's exactly what they will do.  For that reason, we have to continue doing what we're doing here; disrupting their operations.

"The people we are dealing with have two positive traits; they're patient and persistant," he continued. "They don't give up easily so we have to do the same.  We have to be patient and vigilant so we can stop them from doing their evil."

Osman went on to talk about the war in Iraq and how the threat there is still very real and dangerous.  He said the United States is going to be in Iraq for a long time and there are talks about the possibility of the Marine Corps going back there.  "You're putting on the uniform now fighting the war on terrorism, and if you stay in long enough you'll probably get the chance to do it again."

Following the speech, Osman answered questions from Marines regarding their mission here at CJTF-HOA and future opportunities for deployments to Iraq. 

Before his departure, Osman ate lunch with Marines and spoke about important issues facing the Marine Corps and thanked them once again for a job well done.


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