Hold the Embassy

The East Africa Response Force practiced responding to a US embassy crisis by rapidly loading and deploying aboard a C-130J at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti. “A quick response is critical because we need to be able to respond if an embassy is attacked, or be there early enough to prevent an attack,” EARF combat engineer Army SSgt. Jonathan Hall said in a release. US Africa Command established the EARF to quickly respond to incidents like the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where several personnel were killed in 2012, including the US ambassador. “This exercise allows us to evaluate the assets and level of ability we have,” added Army Capt. Brian Hotchkiss, commander of the incoming detachment from Fort Stewart, Ga. “It’s also a validation of the other assets,” including Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and French military logistics, communications, medical, and medical support. Air Force assets supported the EARF in securing US personnel when violence broke out in South Sudan in 2013, and C-130Js of the 75th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron from Dyess AFB, Texas, supported the exercise in Djibouti on Feb. 13.