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1st Black Marine 4-star General Ends Maiden Trip To Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia As New AFRICOM Commander

Marine Corps General Michael Langley has ended a three-nation maiden trip to Africa since taking charge of U.S. Africa Command in August.

From Sunday to Wednesday Langley met with host nation leaders, U.S. officials and U.S. troops in Somalia, Djibouti and Manda Bay, Kenya, according to a release from the command.

The trip was designed for the new commanding general to “better understand the political and military situation in East Africa, discuss shared concerns and priorities, and see ongoing operations firsthand,” the press release said.

Since assuming command of AFRICOM on Aug. 9 ― making history as the first Black four-star Marine general ― Langley has been tasked with, among other challenges, leading troops on the continent against escalating threats from militant groups.

The trip comes only weeks after the U.S. launched air strikes against al-Shabab in Somalia and days after an Air Force drone crashed in Libya.

While in Somalia, Langley visited operational sites to observe ongoing training efforts and force protection measures.

“The United States supports the Somali government and its people,” he said in a press release statement. “We are committed to working together to advance our mutual prosperity for our countries. I appreciate Somalia’s efforts in the fight against [al-Shabab] and look forward to continued partnership between our two militaries.”

In Djibouti, the commanding general met with leaders to discuss various missions that stage out of Camp Lemonnier ― the only permanent U.S. military base in Africa.

“The United States is grateful for the leadership Djibouti has shown through its contributions to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia and the gracious hospitality the Djiboutians show to our troops,” Langley said. “I look forward to continuing to foster our enduring, strong and cooperative relationship.”

The four-star general then traveled to Manda Bay, Kenya, to assess security protection measures there.

An attack by al-Shabab in early 2020 at Manda Bay Airfield that killed three Americans prompted an AFRICOM investigation and new security training for troops in the region.

AFRICOM, one of 11 Department of Defense combatant commands, is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.

First published in Marine Times,

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