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Join Date: 8/16/2010
1/26/2012 2:46:37 PM Shadow Wars in Africa
While I served in the USMC, I was deployed to Camp Lemonier, in Djibouti Africa. The base is just a few miles away from Somolia, which as everyone knows is one of the most hot zones in the world right now as far as terrorism, piracy, and corruption. I was there with my squadron as an Airframes Mechanic. Our mission while there was to support operations in humanitarian efforts and other operations.

While there we worked closely with Ethiopia and Kenya, building wells, schools, medical clinics, and orphanages. We did a lot of great work there, and although it was insanely hot (low was 86 at 0100, high was around 140 +/- a few degrees) and dusty, I was proud to be there. Even then Djibouti was one of the most targeted bases in the world, but thanks to our Intelligence communities (counter and clandestine) we were never attacked while I was there. Security was tight, if you think the TSA is invasive then you have another thing coming. Funny part is, even though security on base was much more thorough than anything I've seen before or since, they were also a hell of a lot faster and respectful- something that speaks to the professionalism and capabilities they maintained.

Although it was not clear on the surface, we all knew that we were there for more than digging wells and helping the local people. Although I never got to meet any of them, we ran quite a few missions where the birds were loaded and unloaded away from the flight line. We saw a lot of activity while I was there, usually rumored to be Delta Force , but occasionally SEALs as well. Back then we knew what the real mission was: Al Qaeda and other groups were easily funneling in and out of Africa through the Horn Of Africa. Djibouti is uniquely located at the opening to the Red Sea and the back end of the Gulf of Aden, which is about 10-15 miles wide shore-to-shore with Yemen, a country that is a hot bed for Al Qaeda operatives and has a weak government. Yemen has also suffered civil war and uprisings over the past 20 years, making for a country nearly as unstable as Somalia, making it fertile ground for terrorist operations, logistical control, coordination, and training camps.

Lately this area has been lit up by the media, but not on the front page. This is more of a foot note a few pages back, but for those who know what to look for it's been one of the most active areas in the world as far as America's war on terror. While Pakistan was still heating up, Yemen was working with the US in secret to attack these groups, as well as providing intel on activity in HOA (Horn of Africa). They are still quite busy, but with the latest uprisings recently they have cooled down slightly.

Still, we were the silent workers in the war on terror, and I'm proud to say that I was apart of this, even if I never had the chance to do or see anything sensitive. While there I got to meet and see a lot of people, explore a culture, and be reminded of what we have here in this country. The actions of the special forces community may never be known; they don't carry out massive invasions or wars. They carry out operations with minimal impact to the local environment and culture, but with crucial importance to the safety and protection of our men and women who serve overseas as well as back home. Without the special forces community, every action would be all out war. The number of lives they have saved and the repercussions that would affect the world with out them can never be measured.

Wired has a few articles that bring this to light, and they do a good job of explaining what is going on over there without actually giving away any sensitive information. When I mention where I have been and what I did most people are clueless to this place, and they make a few jokes about it's name, which are well deserved. But for those of you who haven't talked to me about it but are interested, give these a good read. They just might open your eyes to what is going on outside of the eyes of the media.

Battleground Africa
New Somalia Attack Could Jeopardize U.S. Shadow War

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Join Date: 3/14/2008
1/30/2012 11:13:45 AM 
And without you there, those SpecOps guys would not have been able to do their job. Thanks for your hard work!

This is why I cringe when I hear things like Ron Paul saying we should close down all foreign military bases. I would argue that without these bases we would be required to go to "war" much more frequently which would cost us MUCH more money and lives.

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