Sunday, August 27, 2006

Natural Fire 2006: A success for EAC and U.S. militaries, local communities

Kenyan Soldier
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Omar Villarreal

NGINYANG, Kenya - Natural Fire 2006, the largest combined exercise between East African Community nations and the United States, has officially come to an end. However the memories, friendships and commitment to continue helping those in need lives on in the hearts and minds of all of those who participated.

“The exercise was a success,” said Kenyan Brig. Gen. L.M. Nogondi, Natural Fire commanding general. “The commitment of the men and women involved has allowed four nations to gather, work together and achieve what was meant to be achieved…cooperative humanitarianism.”

The combined exercise, which involved military personnel from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the U.S., focused on military-to-military training on how to respond to natural disasters. Real world medical, veterinary and engineering civil action programs were completed simultaneously in rural areas of each EAC country as well {Click on image for photo details}

1 comment:

Weasel said...

More than 9,000 people from small villages and pastoral communities were treated during the MEDCAPs that spanned three countries during the 10-day exercise. In addition, more than 3,000 animals were treated during the VETCAP in Kenya.

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Richard W. Hunt, commander of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, visited each of the three participating countries to observe the humanitarian projects and the cooperative training efforts.

“Our goals focused on improved crisis response capabilities and to enhance the planning and execution capacity of our partner nations of the EAC,” said Admiral Hunt. “Not only did we exceed all expectations, but the trust and confidence that developed among the participants these past two weeks will pay great dividends for years to come.”

It took 1,500 men and women working collectively and a year of planning to carry out the combined exercise. “That is a small price to pay,” said U.S. Navy Captain Timothy Moon, Natural Fire Chief of Staff. “Especially when you are able to witness firsthand the positive impacts an exercise such as Natural Fire brings to small communities in need.”

He continued by saying each country took the exercise very seriously and that everyone looked at it as an opportunity to successfully work on interoperability.

“We all believed in why we were here,” said Captain Moon. “The EAC and the U.S. had a common goal…we wanted to come together, work hard and help as many people as we could - and we succeeded.”