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History-Making Ribbon Cutting at Camp Lemonnier

Jun 30, 2015

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (NNS) -- The only permanent U.S. military base on the African continent marked a major milestone with the completion of the first brick-and-mortar barracks at Camp Lemonnier, June 15 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The new barracks demonstrate the U.S. commitment in the Horn of Africa and sends a strong message to our strategic partners in the region.

"We are here as an enduring facility," said Capt. Matthew O'Keefe, Camp Lemonnier commanding officer. "This is a bellwether event that tells our partners that we're not going anywhere. We're here for the long run until our mission is complete."

The $34 million project broke ground July 6, 2013 and was completed 709 days later. The barracks has 125 double occupancy rooms and will be home to 250 E-6 uniform service members.

For Electronics Technician 1st Class Susan Chronister the move into the permanent barracks is a welcome change with plenty of storage space and a private bath she will share with her roommate.

"It's going to be luxury," Chronister said with a laugh.

Chronister who deployed to Camp Lemonnier in March to begin an 11-month tour sees the benefits of having a barracks, which will include most of the E-6s on the base.

"It will bring joint forces together that much more having their senior leadership come together," said Chronister. "They see that we can work together as a group rather than separate branches."

The barracks include a main recreation room on the main floor and lounge areas on each floor. The building was designed and constructed to provide a comfortable living arrangement for service members forward deployed to Djibouti.

In addition, the building is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified building in all of Africa. LEED is an energy rating system used in the U.S. The building used the latest construction technology to include Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) construction and solar panels for the primary domestic hot water.

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