VICENZA, Italy – The U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) Civil Affairs Battalion conducted a change of responsibility during a ceremony Aug. 25, 2023, at Caserma Del Din, Vicenza, Italy.

During the ceremony, the 489th Civil Affairs Battalion, from Knoxville, TN, assumed responsibility as the SETAF-AF CA Battalion from the outgoing 450th Civil Affairs Battalion.

“Our Civil Affairs Battalion provides us a critical capability,” said Maj. Gen. Todd Wasmund, SETAF-AF commanding general. “They help us understand the concerns and perspectives of the civilian populations in the countries in which we partner and help to meet their needs. They help our African partners build their own capacity to increase civil-military engagement and build trust between the military and those they protect.”

SETAF-AF coordinates all U.S. Army activities in Africa in support of U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Army Europe and Africa.

The U.S. Army Reserve, Maryland-based battalion worked hand-in-hand with several African partners including Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Malawi, Liberia, Morocco, Djibouti, Kenya, Ghana, and Tunisia during their nine-month deployment to the U.S. Africa Command Area of Responsibility. Across the continent, the battalion played a vital role in fostering partnerships between the U.S. Army, host nation forces and their respective public.

Army Civil Affairs Soldiers work closely in partnership with other government agencies or the militaries of allied nations.

“I would like to thank all of our African Partners and the Soldiers of SETAF-AF for laying a solid foundation of operations for us,” said 540th Civil Affairs Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Kevin. Martin. “The past nine months has been an incredible experience, and we wouldn’t endeavor to continue forward with the mission, jointly with all partners for success.”

The incoming civil affairs battalion assumes responsibility for all Army civil affairs duties within the African continent supporting the SETAF-AF mission.

“I would like to thank the outgoing Civil Affairs Battalion for laying a solid foundation of operations for us and we will endeavor to continue forward with the mission, jointly with all partners for success,” said Lt. Col. James Favuzzi, the commander of 489th Civil Affairs Battalion.

Over the next nine months, the battalion will provide approximately 90 Soldiers, 10 civil affairs teams, and one medical functional specialist team to conduct engagements across Africa in support of SETAF-AF.

“We receive tremendous support to our mission from the U.S. Army Reserve, evidenced by the work and accomplishments of the 540th,” said Wasmund. “We’re confident that the new team from the 489th will build upon that important work in the months ahead.”

By Billy Lacroix

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