Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Marines stand at parade rest during the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa change of command ceremony held at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Feb. 8. Rear Adm. Philip H. Green Jr. took over as the new commander of CJTF-HOA during the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Jeremy Lock)
CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti (Feb. 8, 2008) – Fair winds and warm weather prevailed as the commander of U.S. Central Command passed the colors of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa from its outgoing commander to its incoming commander during a change-of-command ceremony held here Feb. 8.
Rear Adm. Phillip Greene, commander, CJTF-HOA, assumed command of the task force from Rear Adm. James Hart, who will be retiring from military service and taking a Senior Executive Service position within U.S. Africa Command.
"I appreciate you being here to share this experience with (Rear Adm.) Hart and me," said Greene. "It’s truly special to be amongst so many special friends and partners. I am honored, humbled and privileged for the opportunity to command the Combined Joint Task Force here in Africa.
"I want to offer a special thanks to the Djiboutian leadership for the warm welcome to myself and our staff that’s here, and also for the gracious hospitality the community of Djibouti extends to our men and women serving here."
The Task Force is based at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, and is responsible for operations in 13 countries across the Horn of Africa, where they conduct military-to-military training, Medical and Veterinary Civil Action Projects and other humanitarian missions.
"As commander of this task force, I am proud to lead a great team of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians, and to be associated with a highly talented group of military professionals from our coalition nations," said Greene. "Together with our development and diplomatic partners, we will carry on the important mission of working along side our African friends to enable African solutions to African challenges."
In the five years that CJTF-HOA has been in existence it has undergone many evolutions, adapting to meet the needs of its partner nations in alignment with U.S. foreign policies. Under Greene’s command, the task force is scheduled to undergo another evolution, as U.S. Africa Command transitions to full operational control of missions on the continent.
"The object is to help people in the region, and that is the reason for the realignment, to see if we can come up with an even better solution for all of Africa," said Adm. William Fallon, commander, U.S. CENTCOM. "I think things have been going very well in this region, the Horn of Africa, but it’s a huge continent, there are a lot of things to do. The big advantage for him is that he has been up at European Command, which has responsibility for the majority of Africa. Now he’s here with CJTF-HOA and I think it’s going to be good for him because he’s got a perspective from both sides."
As CJTF-HOA’s outgoing commander, Hart understands the difficulties that Greene and his staff will face in the coming year."The challenges are really about continuing to develop the trust and strong relationship between all of our partners and finding those places where U.S. military’s mission aligns up best with helping those countries," said Hart. "I look forward to seeing very many good initiatives started with (Rear Adm.) Greene’s staff."
Fortunately for the new commander, the transition to AFRICOM should have a positive impact on the mission for CJTF-HOA."CJTF-HOA will benefit from having one combatant commander," said Hart. "Today, with our region being the Horn of Africa, the Great Lakes and the islands, we actually work with three combatant commanders. So in the future, (Rear Adm.) Greene will only have to work with one."
Greene understands that the accomplishments of his staff will be built on the foundation laid by Hart and the troops that served with him.
"I also want to take a moment to thank Adm. Hart for and efficient and effective transition," said Greene. "Under your leadership, much has been accomplished and you have set the conditions for continued, future success."
Greene comes to Djibouti from his latest assignment as the Director for Policy, Resources & Strategy, U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa, in Naples, Italy. He has also served as the commander for Destroyer Squadron 31 and the USS Fletcher, a Spruance class destroyer.
Greene is a graduate of the National War College and the Naval Postgraduate School. His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four awards), Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal (four awards).