Africa: Africom Commander First U.S. Military Leader to Speak Out on DC Insurgency

Joint statement from @USArmy Gen. Stephen Townsend and @USMC Sgt. Maj. Richard Thresher
7 January 2021

The head of the U.S. Africa Command (Africom) has become the first top-ranking American military officer to react publicly to the invasion of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by protesters seeking to block Congressional confirmation of election victories by the Democratic candidates Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris.

"U.S. Africa Command remains focused on our mission to protect and advance American's security and interests in Africa," U.S. Army  Gen. Stephen Townsend said in a Tweet, issued jointly with the top enlisted member of the Command,  U.S. Marine Corps  Sgt. Maj. Richard Thresher.

Their statement acknowledged that some soldiers "may be concerned about the events we saw unfold back home."

Townsend is a four-star general in the Army, the top rank currently held by any officer in the U.S. military. The Command is responsible for all U. S. military activities, as well as security cooperation operations, on the African continent.

"America has withstood much greater and graver challenges in the past, our constitution remains our bedrock, and our system of government is strong, resilient and will prevail," the two leaders said.

Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command, presenting 2020 Posture Testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee Jan. 30, 2020.

"The American people expect, and need, us to stay steady and keep clear eyes on our duty - and we will. The command senior enlisted leader and I remain proud to stand in the phalanx alongside all of you.''

Full text of Tweet:

"SOME OF YOU MAY BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE EVENTS WE SAW UNFOLD BACK HOME IN THE U.S. CAPITOL YESTERDAY. BUT WE WANT TO SHARE THESE THOUGHTS WITH YOU:

AMERICA HAS WITHSTOOD MUCH GREATER AND GRAVER CHALLENGES IN THE PAST, OUR CONSTITUTION REMAINS OUR BEDROCK, AND OUR SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT IS STRONG, RESILIENT AND WILL PREVAIL. U.S. AFRICA COMMAND REMAINS FOCUSED ON OUR MISSION TO PROTECT AND ADVANCE AMERICAN'S SECURITY AND INTERESTS IN AFRICA.

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE EXPECT, AND NEED, US TO STAY STEADY AND KEEP CLEAR EYES ON OUR DUTY - AND WE WILL. THE COMMAND SENIOR ENLISTED LEADER AND I REMAIN PROUD TO STAND IN THE PHALANX ALONGSIDE ALL OF YOU.''

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