The U.S. Department of Defense, on Feb. 14, identified the U.S. Army soldier who died in Djibouti in a ‘non-combat related incident’ on Feb. 13.
The deceased was identified as Pfc. Walter Lewark, 26, from Mountainair, New Mexico. Lewark was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 200th Infantry Regiment, 93d Troop Command, New Mexico Army National Guard, Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Pfc. Lewark died at Camp Lemonnier and was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom-Horn of Africa (OEF-HOA), a U.S. military operation to combat militant Islamism and piracy in the Horn of Africa.
According to the Pentagon statement, the incident is under investigation.
Camp Lemonnier is a U.S. Naval Expeditionary Base in Djibouti and is the only permanent U.S. military base in Africa.
The installation is operated by U.S. Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia (EURAFSWA) and is the home of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) of the U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM). The base reportedly hosts about 4,000 U.S. personnel with around 2,000 assigned to CJTF-HOA.
The CJTF-HOA is the primary (but not sole) military component assigned to accomplish the objectives of the OEF-HOA mission.
Djibouti is strategically located by the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, which separates the Gulf of Aden from the Red Sea and controls the approaches to the Suez Canal. As a result, the country hosts many other foreign military bases, including a Chinese naval base, a French airbase, and a Japanese base.