Service members, partners welcome new commander at Nigerien Air Base 201

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Charis M. Bryan
  • 435th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

U.S. military and host nation leaders gathered at Nigerien Air Base 201, Agadez, to participate in the 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron change of command ceremony, July 13, 2021.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffrey Gipson relinquished command of the 724th EABS to Lt. Col. Christopher Jacobson after a one-year tour in Niger.

The primary mission of the 724th EABS is the continued support to building partner capabilities and training to enhance security in the Agadez Region. The joint squadron is comprised of both U.S. Air Force Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers.

“As we all look toward the future, I’m convinced this mission and these partnerships will prove to be a continued, mutually-beneficial effort for the American people and the people of Agadez, and Niger, and in turn--all of Western Africa.” Gipson said in his parting remarks.

This was the first large-scale event that the air base has hosted since the COVID-19 pandemic. Distinguished guests included the Governor of the Agadez Region, the Mayor of Agadez, the Sultan and representatives from the U.S. Embassy Niamey.

During his command, Gipson prioritized the maintenance and continued evolution of relationships with military and civic leaders in the surrounding area.

Similar to Gipson’s priorities as commander, the planning of the event focused on the themes of partnership and education. The three-hour program included an educational presentation from various Airmen and Soldiers currently deployed to the 724th EABS.

Guests had the opportunity to interact with several unique careers and programs at the base including firefighters, a combat medical team, the logistics readiness flight and the Women’s Association. Each of the presentations highlighted unique partnerships with both the Nigerien Armed Forces (FAN) and the community of Agadez.

At the request of Niger, the U.S. military has been operating at Nigerien AB 201 since 2014. The two militaries train together to ensure stability and security of the region.

“My goal is to improve the base infrastructure and ensure we continue to provide premier support allowing us to achieve our two nation’s compatible strategic objectives,” said Jacobson. “This goal cannot be achieved without working by, with, and through, the Nigerian military forces and Agadez civic leaders.”

Forward-deployed locations remain key to U.S. and partner forces training together across the globe. The ability to operate with Nigerien partner forces on a daily basis and the strategic location of Nigerien AB 201 enables a cohesive team that is capable of providing an array of support across West Africa.