Citizen-soldiers impacting Africa Command mission 

12/1/2010 

Guard soldier in Africa 
Staff Sgt. Timothy Turner, U.S. Army National Guard 2nd Battalion, 137th Infantry Regiment, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, helps unload books at the Church of Djibouti Nov. 2.

The commanding general of Africa Command told attendees at the Maj. Gen. Robert G. Morehead Guard and Reserve Breakfast, "What you are doing is important and it matters."

Gen. William "Kip" Ward said that on any given day there are 3,500 service members working on the African continent in stability operations.  "Ninety percent are guardsmen and reservists."

He cited the state partnerships the National Guard is developing with the 53 nations on the continent as an important investment in the future, similar to the partnerships established in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s. 

"The reserve [components] play an invaluable role" that will pay dividends not only today "but 20, 50 years from now" in allowing the United States access to the continent, he said.

Ward, speaking before the formal opening of the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting and Exhibition, said the challenge now facing the Army is "how do we take that enthusiasm" and "have it continue in the interests of our nation.