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Kentucky celebrates two-year state partnership with Djibouti

By Maj. Stephen Martin | Kentucky National Guard | July 13, 2017

DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti - Kentucky National Guard senior leadership travelled overseas in June to help celebrate Djibouti's 40th independence day anniversary and to recognize two years of partnership between the organizations.

"I was honored to join senior leaders from across the world in helping celebrate Djibouti's independence on this great day,” said Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Adams III, Land Component commander of the Kentucky National Guard.

"This celebration is incredibly significant and we're fortunate to have the opportunity for our military to partner with Djibouti's government," Adams said.

The Kentucky National Guard partnered with the Djiboutian Armed Forces (FAD) in June of 2015 and the relationship has provided opportunities for both nations to share best practices in the areas of counter-narcotics operations, border and port security, health, academia, cooperative training and exercises.

Adams and Command Sgt. Maj. David Munden met with both Col. Mohamed Ali Obsieh, the director general de l'Academie Militare InterArmees for the Djiboutian military and Col. Zakaria Hassan Aden of the Gendarmerie police force as part of the military engagements between the two forces.

In discussing the partnership with Adams, Col. Obsieh remarked, "We do things different, yet together.

"Our culture, our weather and our people are different, but yet we will move forward together and grow stronger in this partnership."

Kentucky leadership discussed ways to assist in the development of the Djiboutian training academy as well as ways to partner with the Gendarmerie police force in urban combat environments among other opportunities throughout the country.

The Gendarmerie also provided a demonstration of their unique riot capabilities as they closed out the annual observance of Ramadan. The members of the Kentucky delegation then helped break the fast with the leadership of the Gendarmerie.

The State partnership program provides opportunities to access a broad range of resources and expertise for both countries participating. It also exposes Kentucky Guard members to different skills and mindsets that challenge traditional methods and spur innovation.

"This long term relationship is a great opportunity to work together and identify challenges that we both need to find solutions to,” said Adams. "We can share talent and personnel to pass on our knowledge and grow collectively."

Djibouti is a key regional partner with the U.S., and is engaged in humanitarian and counter-terrorism operations throughout East Africa. The FAD has a growing relationship with both the Kentucky Army and Air National Guard as part of the National Guard State Partnership Program.