The unit of 13 soldiers will head to Djibouti and possibly other areas to drill for water in a remote regions of the Horn, said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Lyon. A guard member for almost 30 years, Lyon also is the detachment commander, the units’s highest-ranking member. The date for deployment to the Horn has not yet been determined, he said.
The U.S. military has been engaged in the Horn of Africa since 2002, using about 1,500 troops to build schools and medical clinics, dig wells, treat sick people and inoculate livestock.
The unorthodox military operation looks more like the Peace Corps than the Marine Corps, but the effort is primarily to assist in “enhancing counter-terrorism capabilities” and to deter al-Qaida and Muslim extremists from spreading throughout a region rife with poverty and despair.