African, U.S. military forces mark opening of Central Accord 2013
By Master Sgt. Stan Parker, 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 27, 2013
DOUALA, Cameroon -- Hundreds of Cameroon military members stood alongside U.S. and other Central Africa partner nation members at the Douala Air Force Base airfield here, during the opening ceremony for Central Accord 2013, February 20, 2012.
Central Accord is a 10-day joint aerial supply and medical readiness exercise aimed to enhance the Cameroon military and other neighboring Central African partner countries' logistical and resupply capabilities. The exercise also includes air drop and aeromedical evacuations, which could be beneficial during future contingency or humanitarian operations.
Part of the U.S. contingent includes a group of eight Air Mobility Command's advisors from the 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron, designed to enhance military-to-military relations between partner nations.
The Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst based MSAS Airmen, assigned to the 621st Contingency Response Wing, arrived in the central African state to take part in the two-week long exercise. Their expertise as air advisors extends AMC's Building Partnership Capacity mission, by fostering key relationships and enhancing partner nation capabilities. The Airmen representing several different Air Force specialties will work side-by-side with partner nation participants in developing competencies in safety, aircraft maintenance, aircrew survival and aerial delivery operations.
The opening ceremony, attended by dozens of senior military and governmental officials, included remarks from Dr. Fritz NTone' NTone', the government delegate to the Douala City Council, Brig. Gen. Peter Corey, U.S. Army Africa Deputy Commanding General and senior U.S. Army exercise official, and Joseph Beti Assomo, the governor of the Littoral Region.
Dr. NTone' addressed the audience and welcomed the visitors, expressing his gratitude on behalf of the citizens of Douala. He added that although the city is striving for continued growth, it may be challenged by preventing and responding to potential problems related to civil security or natural disasters. "So you can understand why we are interested in this exercise, where the heart of the job is developing medical and logistical support for the sub region," he said.
Assomo's remarks echoed similar sentiment and highlighted the commitment it took to reach this momentous occasion.
"Following pre-engagements in Angola and Vicenza, we are now here in the economic capitol of our country to put in play the scenarios that were planned during the planning process," Assomo said. "It's a great honor for our country to host the final part of the planning conferences but also the actual exercise for Central Accord 13 ... This choice echoes the willingness of the Cameroon Chief of State, the Chief of the Army, and his excellence Paul Biya (president of Cameroon) to work toward peace on our continent and our region."
"The United State States' commitment to the central Africa region and to Africa is long term," Corey said. "As part of that commitment, the U.S. Army works to strengthen relationships with our African partners who are cooperating on a regional basis to ensure a more secure and stable Africa."
Of the more than 700 military members participating in the exercise, most are from the Cameroon military with about 160 participants from the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy. Nineteen additional participants from neighboring African countries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Sao Tome e Principe, and Gabonese Republic also joined the exercise in Cameroon.
Central Accord is U.S. Army Africa annually sponsored exercise that brings together U.S. military personnel with counterparts from militaries throughout the African continent to enhance military interoperability, providing an opportunity for the sharing of common goals and foster security cooperation. This year the scope was broadened to enhances medical readiness capacity.