News: US Africa Command commander visits Liberia
Story by Capt. Amy Rittberger
MONROVIA, Liberia – The commander of U.S. Africa Command paid a special visit to Liberia Sept. 4-5 and during his visit he met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
U.S. Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, U.S. Africa Command commander, spent his time visiting with numerous organizations, including those members of the U.S. armed forces involved in Operation Onward Liberty (OOL).
The mission of OOL began in 2010, and strives to mentor and advise the Armed Forces of Liberia to develop a national military that is responsible, operationally capable and is a force for good among the Liberian people.
OOL consists of approximately 50 service members from the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army’s Michigan National Guard and the U.S. Air Force. Each service member serves a tour of six months to one year and acts as a mentor and advisor to AFL soldiers.
In an address to OOL members, Gen. Ham expressed his appreciation for the work the members of OOL are doing.
“Thank you for what you do each and every day,” said Gen. Ham. “What you’re doing really makes a difference.”
General Ham also talked about the importance of viewing our relationship with the AFL as a true partnership, and said even though OOL is here to mentor, members can learn from their AFL counterparts as well, and challenged members to reflect on their jobs.
“I ask you to think about that word, partnership,” said Gen. Ham. “What are the things we can do to help them? In return, we gain cultural experience and the opportunity to teach and learn in a joint environment.”
After speaking with OOL members, Gen. Ham spent time with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to discuss what OOL needs to morph into over the next few years.
Gen. Ham finished his visit to Liberia at the Liberian Coast Guard (LCG) Sept. 5, where he was able to see a pier which was recently repaired by U.S. Navy Underwater Construction Team ONE. The construction team spent three weeks in Liberia repairing the pier alongside LCG members.