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Airmen, Agadez civic leaders build partnership

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brad Harbaugh, 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron commander, gives commanders of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes and Agadez civic leaders a tour of base construction projects Feb. 21, 2018, at Nigerien Air Base 201, Niger. Harbaugh used the tour to discuss with civic leaders how integrated capabilities and interoperability promote regional partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brad Harbaugh, 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron commander, gives commanders of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes and Agadez civic leaders a tour of base construction projects Feb. 21, 2018, at Nigerien Air Base 201, Niger. Harbaugh used the tour to discuss with civic leaders how integrated capabilities and interoperability promote regional partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brad Harbaugh, 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron commander, laughs with members of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes and Agadez civic leaders during a social gathering at Nigerien Air Base 201’s dining facility, Feb. 21, 2018. The U.S. military is in Agadez at the request of the Government of Niger, and remains committed to helping its African partners protect their borders with matters of national security, and with other efforts important to the citizens of Niger. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brad Harbaugh, 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron commander, laughs with members of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes and Agadez civic leaders during a social gathering at Nigerien Air Base 201’s dining facility, Feb. 21, 2018. The U.S. military is in Agadez at the request of the Government of Niger, and remains committed to helping its African partners protect their borders with matters of national security, and with other efforts important to the citizens of Niger. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Lt. Col. Brad Harbaugh, 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron commander, shakes hands with the Agadez Region Governor, Saadou Soloke, after a base tour Feb. 21, 2018, at Nigerien Air Base 201, Niger. Harbaugh gave Soloke and his delegation a tour of construction projects on the base and discussed mutual goals and objectives between the U.S. and Niger. The U.S. and Niger seek to eliminate mutual security threats in areas where assistance is requested, and these operations are conducted in full coordination with the host nation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Lt. Col. Brad Harbaugh, 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron commander, shakes hands with the Agadez Region Governor, Saadou Soloke, after a base tour Feb. 21, 2018, at Nigerien Air Base 201, Niger. Harbaugh gave Soloke and his delegation a tour of construction projects on the base and discussed mutual goals and objectives between the U.S. and Niger. The U.S. and Niger seek to eliminate mutual security threats in areas where assistance is requested, and these operations are conducted in full coordination with the host nation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Agadez Region Governor, Saadou Soloke, speaks to local media about the mutual goals between Niger the United States Feb. 21, 2018, at Nigerien Air Base 201, Niger. After a tour of the base, Soloke reassured the media that the U.S. and Niger is working together every day to achieve the goal of ensuring peace and stability in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Agadez Region Governor, Saadou Soloke, speaks to local media about the mutual goals between Niger the United States Feb. 21, 2018, at Nigerien Air Base 201, Niger. After a tour of the base, Soloke reassured the media that the U.S. and Niger is working together every day to achieve the goal of ensuring peace and stability in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Agadez civic leaders answer questions from the local media with commanders of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes and U.S. Air Force squadron commanders from the 409th Air Expeditionary Group Feb. 21, 2018, at Nigerien Air Base 201, Niger.  The purpose of the media visit was to showcase the interoperability and joint partnership between the U.S. Air Force and Niger. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Agadez civic leaders answer questions from the local media with commanders of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes and U.S. Air Force squadron commanders from the 409th Air Expeditionary Group Feb. 21, 2018, at Nigerien Air Base 201, Niger. The purpose of the media visit was to showcase the interoperability and joint partnership between the U.S. Air Force and Niger. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Agadez civic leaders, commanders of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes and U.S. Air Force squadron commanders from the 409th Air Expeditionary Group walk together during a base tour Feb. 21, 2018, at Nigerien Air Base 201, Niger. Sustaining positive relations with their host-nation partners is part of a unique mission that promotes regional stability and prosperity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Agadez civic leaders, commanders of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes and U.S. Air Force squadron commanders from the 409th Air Expeditionary Group walk together during a base tour Feb. 21, 2018, at Nigerien Air Base 201, Niger. Sustaining positive relations with their host-nation partners is part of a unique mission that promotes regional stability and prosperity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Agadez civic leaders gather with commanders of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes and U.S. Air Force squadron commanders from the 409th Air Expeditionary Group Feb. 21, 2018, at Nigerien Air Base 201, Niger. The civic leaders were invited on base by the U.S. Air Force squadron commanders to get a tour of the base and enhance partnerships between the U.S. and Niger. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Agadez civic leaders gather with commanders of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes and U.S. Air Force squadron commanders from the 409th Air Expeditionary Group Feb. 21, 2018, at Nigerien Air Base 201, Niger. The civic leaders were invited on base by the U.S. Air Force squadron commanders to get a tour of the base and enhance partnerships between the U.S. and Niger. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

AGADEZ, Niger --

Nigerien civic leaders, regional security officials, religious leaders and media reporters from the Agadez region, met with U.S. and Nigerien military leaders from the 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron during a tour of Nigerien Air Base 201, Feb. 21.

The purpose of the visit was to educate local leaders and demystify concerns the local community may have about the construction projects on base.

Lt. Col. Brad Harbaugh, commander, 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron, initiated the visit to put to rest any misconceptions about the base and used the tour to discuss mutual security goals and showcase the progress of various construction projects on base.

“Air Base 201 is a Nigerien Air Base with a U.S. camp on the base,” Harbaugh said. “This is their base and we’re here supporting their mission and their security.”

Harbaugh also said that with more than 20 members, this was the first time a delegation of this size has come on base and taken a tour of the construction. Agadez Region Governor, Sadou Soloke, was also able to see construction efforts for the first time since 2016.  

“I have a good relationship with the American military on this base,” Soloke said. “I think we all have come to realize that we have the same goals and we should work towards achieving them together.”

According to Capt. Bryce Bergman, 31st  Expeditionary RED HORSE director of operations, the request to build a runway, its associated facilities and infrastructure at Nigerien Air Base 201 came from the Government of Niger in 2013. 

The U.S. Air Force spent months planning and negotiating with the Nigerien government before the 31st Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron officially began construction during the summer of 2016.

“There isn’t any big surprise for me here. I know the project. I know this is an agreement between two countries and is mutually useful for both countries,” said Soloke. “I would like to thank the higher authorities of our country, who have agreed to the construction of these infrastructures, which will be useful for us.”

Harbaugh explained that the U.S. military remains committed to helping its African partners protect their borders with matters of national security and other efforts important to the citizens of Niger.

“This was a historic visit,” said Harbaugh. “America needs to know that hundreds of its sons and daughters are undertaking the largest Air Force troop-led military construction project in history. It’s nothing short of miraculous.”