NEWS | May 17, 2021

Zana succeeds Flora as Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa commander

By Senior Airman Morgan Brown Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Lapthe C. Flora, the outgoing Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) commanding general, transferred responsibility to U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William L. Zana during a change of command ceremony. U.S. Army Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of the U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM), presided over the ceremony. 

Zana and Flora are both members of the Virginia Army National Guard. 

Townsend thanked Flora for leading the command with steady leadership and recognized his accomplishments in leading his staff in support of USAFRICOM over the past year.

Townsend praised Flora’s command during the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted how a year ago he had asked the command to stay focused on the mission, to stay true to our military values and to hold the line.

“All of you have been steady professionals, holding the line and that is exactly what has been needed,” said Townsend. “We counted on you, and you delivered. Thank you all for that.”  

During his closing statement, Flora thanked the members of the command and visitors in attendance for their hard work and dedication, making his time at CJTF-HOA a rewarding experience.

“Thank you to our Djiboutian, French, coalition partners and colleagues for your warmest hospitality and steadfast support,” said Flora. “To my CJTF-HOA teammates, I thank you for making my job much easier. You never faltered and accomplished everything I asked of you. It has been a privilege and an honor to serve alongside you as your commander.”

With the passing of the flag, the change of command was complete. Zana will now be responsible for overseeing CJTF-HOA’s efforts in continuing to develop enduring partnerships, helping to build the defense capabilities of our African partners and regional organizations, and the ongoing efforts to deter and defeat trans-national threats operating in Africa.

Townsend remarked on Zana’s continued efforts and dedication in supporting CJTF-HOA’s mission and its importance in East Africa as a whole.

“Bill Zana is no stranger to Africa,” said Townsend. “With your previous experience as the Deputy Commanding General of CJTF-HOA and your recent duties as the Joint Staff J5, Deputy Director of Africa, you have my full confidence that CJTF-HOA will continue to execute every mission with precision and professionalism.”

Zana expressed his appreciation for being able to once again join the CJTF-HOA team and our allied nations. Zana noted that he is looking forward to reconnecting with old friendships and making new ones with those he hasn’t served with yet.

“We are collectively much stronger, more capable and ready to handle the complex challenges these nations face when we work together,” said Zana.

Zana finished his closing statement by thanking his new CJTF-HOA team for their hard work and dedication to the mission in East Africa.

“To my new CJTF-HOA team, I know the time away from your family and loved ones is challenging, but you are doing important work for your nation, our allies and partners. I am proud to join this team. There is no doubt we will be called upon and when we are, we will be ready.”

Due to social distancing, the change of command ceremony was attended by a small number of invited guests. The event was live streamed for viewing by those unable to attend in person. The livestream recording is available at

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