Members of the U.S. Africa Command North and West Africa Response Force conducted and air-to-ground integration exercise near Aviano, Italy, December 7-9. The training included multiple air insertion and airborne operations involving Army paratroopers aboard U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys. Soldiers of the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) joined with U.S. Marines from Naval Air Station Sigonella and U.S. Airmen on drop zones near Aviano Air Base, Italy, to improve crisis response capabilities.
“My unit’s involvement has been doing CASEVAC as well as tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel,” said Capt. Collin Buesser, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM-365). “We’re also doing air drop with a lot of the Soldiers out here. We’re trying to get involved with both the Army and the Air Force to make sure everybody is on the same page for this joint mission.”
The U.S. Africa Command’s North and West Africa Response Force (NARF) supports USAFRICOM requirement to respond to crises and contingencies on a moment’s notice in North and West Africa. Regular exercises ensure the joint team’s capability to marshal and deploy with a scalable force package in support of U.S. persons, facilities and interests in Africa. The NARF’s mission is crisis and contingency response in North and West Africa, including to protect U.S. interests in the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. The NARF is under the command and control of U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF).
The United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM, U.S. AFRICOM, and AFRICOM), is one of the eleven unified combatant commands of the United States Department of Defense, headquartered at Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany. It is responsible for U.S. military operations, including fighting regional conflicts and maintaining military relations with 53 African nations. Its area of responsibility covers all of Africa except Eritrea, which has denied interest of becoming a member for years. They also don’t cover Egypt, which is within the area of responsibility of the United States Central Command. U.S. AFRICOM headquarters operating budget was $276 million in fiscal year 2012.