Massive attack in Mogadishu spurs quick-response support from CJTF-HOA

U.S. Airmen from the 449th Air Expeditionary Group load pallets of medical and humanitarian aid supplies onto a U.S. C-130J Super Hercules at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Oct. 17, 2017.

U.S. Airmen from the 449th Air Expeditionary Group load pallets of medical and humanitarian aid supplies onto a U.S. C-130J Super Hercules at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Oct. 17, 2017. The aid is being delivered to the Somali people following a devastating terrorist attack that killed and injured hundreds in Mogadishu on Oct. 14. Working with the Federal Government of Somalia, the U.S. Mission to Somalia immediately arranged for the air shipment. On a Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa mission, the C-130 carried several pallets of medical equipment and supplies. The United States will continue to stand with the Somali government, its people, and international allies to combat terrorism and support efforts to achieve peace, security and prosperity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Gustavo Castillo)

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti -- At the request of the Federal Government of Somalia and in coordination with the U.S. Mission to Somalia and U.S. Africa Command, a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft departed from the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) here, loaded with medical and recovery supplies in response to the terrorist attacks that killed and injured hundreds in Mogadishu on October 14.

Less than 48 hours after receiving official reports of a vehicle borne improvised explosive device detonation currently claiming more than 300 lives and nearly 400 injuries, CJTF-HOA is sending much-needed provisions to Somalia’s capital city.

“Sunday afternoon, we started receiving reports from the military liaisons who work for the [U.S.] Department of State in Mogadishu saying that there was a large explosion in Mogadishu,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Peter Brereton, CJTF-HOA Operations Directorate, director of current operations. “Reports stated that it was a significant event with multiple damaged buildings, several fatalities and potentially a large number of wounded personnel.”

Brereton said that within 24 hours of the attack, the Somali government reached out to the U.S. Department of State, requesting U.S. Department of Defense assistance. The State Department’s Mission to Somalia Charge’ d’Affaires, Martin Dale, declared that emergency assistance was in the best interest of the United States and meets the criteria to warrant immediate U.S. Government assistance.

With coordination from various entities at U.S. Africa Command, to include assistance from the command’s representatives from U.S. Agency for International Development and Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, CJTF-HOA began receiving specific requests for supplies to be sent to Somalia.

“At that point, we had to reach out across the command here,” he stated.

Members of the CJTF-HOA Surgeon Cell were contacted to provide medical provisions while the CJTF-HOA Logistics Directorate coordinated how the needed supplies would be moved to Somalia.

The requested support falls right in line with the mission of CJTF-HOA, which includes providing support to crisis as an allied regional effort with international partners in East Africa.

With collaboration and rapid response, U.S. State Department and CJTF-HOA, the international community, and nongovernmental agencies are coordinating support to the Somali people.

“We extend our‎ deepest condolences to all Somalis, especially those who lost friends and family in the attacks,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, CJTF-HOA Deputy Commanding General in Somalia. “The U.S. stands with the international community in supporting our Somali partner and will continue efforts towards security and peace for the people of this region.”

Teamwork, which provided the backbone for the current support efforts, will be just as critical for future endeavors.

“It was a team effort that required close coordination with the Mogadishu team that works closely with the State Department and Federal Government of Somalia in communication with the Mogadishu populous and President of Somalia,” said Brereton. “Here at Camp Lemonnier we have a dedicated team of logisticians, working through the night to gather this material from supply depots, palletize it, get in on the aircraft, and prep for transport.”