CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – More than 300 soldiers converged upon the Recreation Center here April 15 to witness a transfer of authority ceremony presided by Brig. Gen. William Glasgow, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa deputy commander.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Tom Burke, 1st 161st Field Artillery Battalion (1-161 FA) commander, accepted authority for his battalion to continue supporting the CJTF-HOA mission from U.S. Army Lt. Col. Gregory Mittman, 2nd 137th Infantry Regiment commander.
“The transition went smoothly,” Burke said, “We have had a few events that have tested us, to include a heat index that is already in the upper nineties, but we’re focused on taking care of each other. The battalion is excited and ready to perform its mission.”
Burke command’s approximately 500 Kansas National Guard soldiers who will serve in missions ranging from force protection and participating in various Maritime Civil Affairs Team missions designed build partner nation capacity.
During his speech at the ceremony, Mittman challenged the 1-161 FA to strive for continuous advancement in supporting CHTF-HOA’s mission.
“Improve on the positions we leave for you, and uphold the high standard your battalion is known for,” Mittman said.
According to Glasgow, this transfer of authority represents the first time two units from Kansas have served sequentially in support of the same mission.
“As Kansas guardsmen, we’re all excited to be part of the CJTF-HOA team and support this very unique mission,” Burke said. “We’re also proud to continue on in the footprint left for us by our Kansas brothers and sisters. We’re in the very special and rare position of taking over for our friends and fellow Kansas soldiers.”