Up & Coming Weekly

February 11, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1209996

Contents of this Issue


Page 12 of 36

12 UCW FEBRUARY 12-18, 2020 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Army Gen. Stephen Townsend's No. 1 concern as commander of U.S. Africa Command is that another deadly at- tack like the one in Manda Bay, Kenya, will occur on his watch. at's why AF- RICOM is now examining the security at Manda Bay and other U.S. installa- tions throughout the entire continent. On Jan. 5, al-Shabab militants attacked U.S. and Kenyan forces at Manda Bay Airfield, which led to the deaths of Army Spc. Henry Mayfield Jr., 23, and two U.S. Department of Defense contractors, Dustin Harrison, 47, and Bruce Triplett, 64. Townsend, 60, is a four-star general who has served as Commander of U.S. Africa Command since July 26, 2019. He previously commanded Fort Bragg's 18th Airborne Corps from May 2015 until January 2018. Townsend also served with the 82nd Airborne Division. He fought in Operation Urgent Fury, Operation Just Cause and Operation Uphold Democracy. Townsend commanded the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, leading it in the Battle of Baqubah during the Iraq War, and later commanded the 10th Mountain Division during the War in Afghanistan. While serving as Fort Bragg's com- manding general, Townsend, in late August of 2016, took command of the Combined Joint Task Force — Opera- tion Inherent Resolve in Iraq —where he served until 2017, after which he returned to Fort Bragg. Raised in an Army family, Townsend was com- missioned as an infantry officer upon graduating from North Georgia College in 1982. He has led and com- manded troops at every echelon from platoon to corps and combined joint task force, to include leading all U.S. and multinational forces fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. "I think it's self-obvious we were not as prepared there at Manda Bay as we needed to be," Townsend told law- makers on the Senate Armed Services Committee last month. "Al-Shabab managed to penetrate onto that air- field. ey killed … three Americans and destroyed six aircraft there," he said. "We weren't as prepared, and we're digging into that to find out why that's the case." e command has launched a senior-leader-led investi- gation examining the circumstances surrounding the attack, and Townsend said approximately 120 infantry- men are now working to secure the area and install proper measures of defense. e incident has prompted AFRI- COM to evaluate security at other areas across the continent as well, especially since Manda Bay was considered a safe area, Townsend said. "Al-Shabab has shown their reach, and the danger that they pose, and I think that we need to take that seriously," the general said. "So, I'm looking with a clear eye at every location in Africa now." In 2019, AFRICOM conducted 63 airstrikes against violent extremist organizations in East Africa. So far, this year AFRICOM has already conducted four airstrikes against al-Shabab mili- tants in Somalia. "What we do is we keep an eye on al-Shabab every day, and we're looking for ways to reduce their capacity wherever we can," said Townsend. e U.S. has approximately 6,000 Department of Defense personnel on the African continent. Former Fort Bragg commander now serves in Africa by JEFF THOMPSON NEWS Gen. Stephen Townsend Deprecia's School of dance (910) 500-3053 dsodstudio.com dsodstudios@gmail.com 8175 Cliffdale Rd. Suite 113 Fayetteville NC, 28314 Dance into the New Year with Joy & Happiness

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Up & Coming Weekly - February 11, 2020