CAMP CHEIKH OSMAN, Djibouti — Members of the Djibouti Armed Forces (FAD) held a retirement ceremony and change of command for its top military leader near Camp Lemonnier, Nov. 28, 2013.
FAD Maj. Gen. Fathi Ahmed Houssein, chief of Defense, retired after more than 54 years of military service, and FAD Maj. Gen. Zakaria Cheikh Ibrahim assumed command during the outdoor ceremony.
Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh presided over the ceremony. Several members of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa were also in attendance including U.S Army Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, the commanding general, U.S Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Smith, deputy commanding general, and U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bonnie Skinner, senior enlisted leader.
“This is an important day for the Djiboutian Armed Forces, and we’re honored to salute General Fathi as he retires, and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership with General Zakaria in his new role,” Ferrell said. “The Djiboutian military is making significant contributions in East Africa, and specifically in Somalia, in the fight against violent extremists. They are a formidable force with ever-increasing capabilities.”
Djibouti is an active member in the African Union Mission in Somalia, which conducts peace support operations to help stabilize East Africa and create a safer and secure environment.
CJTF-HOA falls under U.S. Africa Command, which was established in 2007 and is responsible for all U.S. Department of Defense operations, exercises, and security cooperation on the African continent.
The CJTF-HOA is responsible for a 10-country, 2.4-million-square-mile combined joint operating area in East Africa. Its members conduct military-to-military engagements with partner-nation militaries to help defeat violent extremist organizations and increase security and stability throughout the region.
"The pride FAD service members displayed during the ceremony reflects their devotion to the citizens of Djibouti,” Ferrell said. “They share our determination to rid violent extremists from East Africa.”