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BU NROTC Alums Serve Together 29 Years Later in the Horn of Africa

25 May 2023

From Lt.j.g. Victoria Piccoli

U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Valerie Jackson, class of 1994, and U.S. Navy Capt. Suzanne Krauss, class of 1995, serve together again in Djibouti, Africa, six thousand miles from where they first met at Boston University, Massachusetts.
U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Valerie Jackson, class of 1994, and U.S. Navy Capt. Suzanne Krauss, class of 1995, serve together again in Djibouti, Africa, six thousand miles from where they first met at Boston University, Massachusetts.

Both BU Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps classmates now hold senior military leadership positions and reconnected while deployed to the only permanent U.S. installation in Africa, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.

Jackson, a native New Englander who received her Bachelor’s degree in history from BU, serves as deputy commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, whose mission is to conduct operations in the United States Africa Command region to promote security and stability, dissuade conflict, and protect U.S. interests.

When Jackson, first found out that she would work professionally with Krauss again she said, “I thought, ‘what are the chances?’ But, I also knew that Camp Lemonnier would be in good hands with Capt. Krauss. It is gratifying to see how the early foundation laid at BU served us both so well. It's an honor to serve with a BUNROTC alum!”

Camp Lemonnier provides air, port, and personnel support to 31 tenant commands, like CJTF-HOA, who operate forward throughout the region.

Krauss, a third-generation military officer who received her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from BU, took command of Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, on April 18, 2023.

“BU was a place where I could learn and thrive as an individual and as part of a larger university community,” said Krauss. “The BUNROTC unit developed and trained us toward the high ideals of the naval service.”

For Krauss and Jackson, the early bonds built as midshipmen from long runs along the Charles River Esplanade in Boston to both commissioning on the USS Constitution remained strong over the years even as they reunited as senior military leaders in the Horn of Africa.

“Twenty-nine years goes by in a flash and you pick up right where you left off,” said Krauss. “The bonds you create through service are strong and lifelong.”
 

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