VOL. 25 - NO. 8
FEB 16 - 23, 2020
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

510.595.7777 FAX

Joint Forces Journal is published privately, and in no way is connected with DoD, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. This website and the printed newspaper are intended for the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Contents do not necessarily reflect official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, and do not imply endorsements thereof. The marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchases, user or patron for advertisers prohibited. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is prepared and edited privately, and is provided by the Public Affairs Office of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. Correspondence and material for publication should be addressed to: Editor, Joint Forces Journal, P.O. Box 13283, Oakland, CA, 94661-0283. Deadline for receiving articles and photos is 3 p.m. Monday for publication on Friday of that week. Joint Forces Journal editorial policy is to use bylines and photo credits where applicable and when submitted.

US Troops' 'Incredible Heroism' Was Key to Repelling Kenya Attack, AFRICOM Says

Jan 17, 2020
by John Vandiver
STUTTGART, Germany -- A small team of U.S. troops demonstrating "incredible heroism and courage" were responsible for fighting off militants who stormed a base in Kenya early this month in a raid that killed three Americans, according to a top U.S. Africa Command general.

An investigation is underway into events surrounding the early January attack at Manda Bay Airfield in coastal Kenya, but an initial assessment credited quick action by U.S. forces for repelling al-Shabab fighters who swarmed the base, AFRICOM's Maj. Gen. William Gayler said.

"We had a very small U.S. force following the initial attack absolutely repel the al-Shabab attackers away from the airfield. And they did that under fire," said Gayler, AFRICOM's director of operations. "A very small group of U.S. and Kenyans cleared every single building out at the airfield."

AFRICOM's probe into the circumstances surrounding the attack comes as the Pentagon reviews how the missions of different commands operating in Africa align with a strategy that is increasingly focused on countering Russia and China. The Pentagon is considering reducing AFRICOM's troops on the continent.

But AFRICOM officials say the U.S. has an interest in keeping pressure on terrorist and extremist groups such as al-Shabab. There are roughly 6,000 U.S. military personnel across the continent, including about 700 in Somalia, where al-Shabab is based.

Countering al-Shabab is currently AFRICOM's main focus.

"We know they possess the intent to attack the United States, even in the homeland," Gayler said.

So far, al-Shabab lacks the capacity to strike outside of Africa, but that could change if pressure on the group is lifted, AFRICOM has warned.

AFRICOM boss Gen. Stephen Townsend is likely to face questions when he testifies before Congress this month about the attacks in Kenya and whether any threat on the continent merits putting American troops in harm's way. Similar questions were raised after four soldiers were killed in a 2017 ambush in Niger. A special operations mission has since been scaled back.

U.S. troops in Somalia are major targets for al-Shabab, which uses high-profile attacks as a recruiting tool and to rally its force of roughly 6,000 fighters, AFRICOM said.

"They continue to look for soft spots. Anything they can find," Gayler said.

Like the Taliban in Afghanistan, al-Shabab frequently makes exaggerated claims on social media about the damage it inflicts. Over the years, the group has gotten more aggressive in getting its message out and making false claims, AFRICOM said.

Brig. Gen. Gregory Hadfield, AFRICOM's deputy director of intelligence, said the group's ultimate goal is to pressure and force foreign supporters of the Somali government out of the country.

"Al-Shabab wants U.S. and other forces out of Somalia," Hadfield said.

* * * * *

Photo caption: Airmen from the 475th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron conduct a flag-raising ceremony, signifying the change from tactical to enduring operations, at Camp Simba, Manda Bay, Kenya. (Staff Sgt. Lexie West/U.S. Air Force via AP)


TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Foothill Music Theatre Presents The Tony Award-Nominated Musical Whodunit “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”

US Navy Just Got Its Hands on a New Kind of Iranian Missile

Coast Guard Abandons Plans to Move Grounded Hawaii Ship

“KITCHEN GOURMET” – Truth Bars Offer Nutrition with a Purpose!

Marine Uses Wrestling Past to Train Martial Arts Teachers

“KITCHEN GOURMET” – Discover the Delicious Taste of Italy with Michael’s of Brooklyn Authentic Recipes

Marine Killed During Island Battle in WWII Identified

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Satirical Dark Comedy “Gloria Plays at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater in San Francisco

Rifle Designed for Aircrew Ejecting in Hostile Regions Delivered to the Air Force

Colonel Aboard Space Station to Enlist 800 Army Recruits