U.S. Army Africa adds two general officers
January 15, 2010
VICENZA, Italy — As a sign of its ongoing transformation, U.S. Army Africa has added two more general officers to its ranks.
Brig. Gen. David Elmo and Brig. Gen. Isaac Osborne will be introduced to the community in a ceremony next week. Both will serve as deputies to Maj. Gen. William Garrett — whose position as commander has been the only general-officer slot assigned to Caserma Ederle.
"Having only one general officer with what we’re being tasked to do can get to be a little tough," said Col. Marcus De Oliveira. "So this is very good news for us."
As a part of U.S. Army Europe, the Southern European Task Force sometimes took on the role of a division-size headquarters and was assigned additional personnel. It received two additional general officers during its stint as the headquarters element for U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2005-2006, for instance. Additional personnel from other services were also attached during its stint leading operations off the coast of Liberia in 2003.
Now that the organization has transformed into an Army Service Component Command for U.S. Africa Command, the Army is supplying additional personnel — mostly civilians — to help take on various missions, according De Oliveira.
Much of the personnel arriving in Vicenza over the next several years will be civilians assigned to administrative and support duties, De Oliveira said. About 100 active-duty personnel should arrive in the same time frame, bringing the number of personnel assigned to the organization to about 700. About half will be civilians.
Some soldiers and civilians based in Vicenza do travel to African countries to take on missions, such as training African militaries, participating in joint exercises or building relationships with their African counterparts. But many stay in Vicenza and plan such missions or coordinate them for troops based in the States who are assigned to carry them out.
De Oliveira said that at least 70 percent of soldiers serving various roles in Africa on any given day are members of the U.S. Army Reserve or National Guard.
So Elmo and Osborne are natural fits.
Elmo is a reservist and works as a civilian at the U.S. Consulate in Milan. His two jobs don’t necessarily mix, but the Department of Defense and Department of State have been closely coordinating efforts in Africa — and sometimes intermixing personnel — since the creation of U.S. Africa Command in 2007. Elmo isn’t a stranger to Vicenza. He served as commander of the SETAF Augmentation Unit from 2001 to 2003 and was the SETAF deputy chief of staff for a few months in 2003.
Osborne is assistant adjutant general for the Tennessee National Guard and will likely still spend most of his time in the States.
"We are very much dependent on their organizations to provide us with individuals and units in Africa," De Oliveira said. Unlike other component commands, such as U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Army Pacific, U.S. Army Africa has no subordinate units.