Pave Hawks’ Djibouti Work-Up
Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawks deployed to Djibouti exercised with French aircraft from the carrier Charles de Gaulle during a stop-over en route to the Persian Gulf to join operations against ISIS. “This is the first significant stop that we’ve made, conducting a live firing exercise in coordination with the US, preparing the French [Aeronavale] pilots for upcoming operations,” said British exchange pilot Lt. Cmdr. Ian Sloan in a Feb. 23 release. The Pave Hawks coordinated with French Rafale fighter aircraft and French and US Marine Corps joint terminal attack controllers during the five-day work-up, Jan. 31 to Feb. 4. Air Force Reserve Command airmen of the 303rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron are currently deployed to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, providing personnel recovery to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, according to a release. France is additionally contributing AWACS, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and land-based strike aircraft to operations over Iraq, making it a leading international contributor to the allied campaign.
NOTE: Djibouti is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Somalia to the southeast, Eritrea and the Red Sea to the northwest, Ethiopia to the west and south, and the Gulf of Aden and Yemen to the northeast.
In antiquity, the territory was part of the Land of Punt. The Djibouti area, along with other localities in the Horn region, was later the seat of the medieval Adal and Ifat Sultanates. In the late 19th century, the colony of French Somaliland was established following treaties signed by the ruling Issa Somali and Afar Sultans with the French. It was subsequently renamed to the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas in 1967. A decade later, the Djiboutian people voted for independence, officially marking the establishment of the Republic of Djibouti.