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STUTTGART, Germany — Those involved in planning transformation of the U.S. military in Europe consistently point to Africa as a place that troops may see more of in coming decades.

But that’s already the case for some personnel at the U.S. European Command headquarters.

Last week, Air Force Gen. Charles Wald, deputy commander of EUCOM, made his third visit this year to the continent, talking with various leaders in a five-day swing through six countries.

Included in this trip were meetings in Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Gabon, Sao Tome and Ghana.

EUCOM has become increasingly involved in a variety of nation-building and military cooperation projects across Africa in recent years. Military medical personnel based in Europe, for instance, have participated in a handful of exercises. During such visits, personnel treat ill local nationals, train with local doctors, fix facilities and donate supplies.

The most recent medical visit was in South Africa.

EUCOM has funded more than 150 humanitarian assistance projects in 60 countries so far this fiscal year.

Other units based in Europe and the States have spent months in a handful of countries, training various levels of local military or law enforcement agencies. A small group of Marines from Europe and the States are currently training anti-terrorism forces in Chad.

Past efforts have resulted in forces that are currently contributing to peacekeeping efforts in places such as Sierra Leone, the Congo and Lebanon.

EUCOM also runs a state partnership program, where individual states — through National Guard and Reserve forces as well as civilian employees — work with an individual African country.

Partnerships exist between New York and South Africa and Utah and Morocco. During Wald’s visit, partnerships involving North Dakota and Ghana and Wyoming and Tunisia were approved.


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