Biographies of Horn of Africa Speakers

Schermerhorn

Ambassador LANGE SCHERMERHORN

 

 

Ms. Schermerhorn's 35-year Foreign Service career included economic, political, staff, and program direction assignments in the Department of State, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Iran, the United Kingdom, Belgium (twice) , and lastly as Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti (1998-2000) during which the year-long Arta  reconciliation conference for Somalia sponsored by the Government of Djibouti took place. 

 

Since retiring in 2001, she has continued her interest in Africa and the affairs of the Horn, with consulting assignments in Egypt, Somaliland, and Djibouti.  She participated in election observation missions for Nigeria's April 2003 and April 2007 presidential elections, Somaliland's September 2005 parliamentary and June 2010 presidential elections, and Kenya's December 2007 Presidential election and August 2010 Constitutional referendum.

 

Ms. Schermerhorn served from October 2003 through June 2004 as the Political Advisor to the commanding general of the U.S. Central Command's Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), based in Djibouti since 2003.  She has participated in training exercises for personnel assigned to CJTF-HOA (20005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011) and at AFRICOM headquarters (2008, 2009) and has participated in various activities with U.S. military entities and contractors, including a series of workshops in 2008-09 devoted to an in-depth analysis of the U.S. military combatant command for Africa (AFRICOM), established in October 2008.    She frequently gives talks and participates in panel presentations on the affairs of the Horn of Africa to a variety of audiences. 

 

She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, the Department of State's six-month fulltime economic course, and the National War College at the National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, DC. 


Ms. Schermerhorn has written on Djibouti for the United States Institute of Peace's May 2003 workshop on Terrorism in the Horn of Africa in an article entitled "Threats and Responses:  Djibouti: Fulcrum of the Horn," published by the Institute in January 2004.   She contributed a chapter on Djibouti to Battling Terrorism in the Horn of Africa, Robert Rotberg, Editor, published jointly by the World Peace Foundation and the Brookings Institution in October 2005, based on a November 2004 colloquium at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University that examined "Governance and Policy in Yemen and the Horn of Africa" with respect to terrorism and counterterrorism.

 

Lt. Gen. Samuel T. Helland

 

Lieutenant General Helland earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the UniversityHelland of Minnesota, Duluth and holds a Master of Science Degree from Troy State University. He is a graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the National Defense University, Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Lieutenant General Helland began his military career by enlisting in the Army in 1968. He served three years with U.S. Army Special Forces, leaving after a combat tour of duty in Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group (ABN), Military Advisory Command (Special Observations Group). Lieutenant General Helland graduated from Marine Officer Candidate School in 1973, and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1974. He is qualified as a CH-53 pilot.

His Marine Corps career assignments include tours of duty with Amphibious Units, Aviation Combat Elements, and Joint Task Forces. He has participated in exercises and contingency operations ranging from the Arctic Circle, throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas, the Persian Gulf, and the Horn of Africa. After graduating from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College in 1987, Lieutenant General Helland reported to Headquarters, Marine Corps to serve as a Staff Officer for the Department of Aviation, Aviation Programs and Weapons Division (APW). In 1990, he was assigned as the Logistics Officer for the Marine Aircraft Group 26 and was the Operations Officer for Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461, MAG 40. Lieutenant General Helland commanded HMH-461 from June 1991 until June 1993. After graduating from The Industrial College of the Armed Forces, he reported to the Joint Staff as a Joint Staff Officer in the J-7, Operational Plans and Interoperability, Conventional War Plans Division. Lieutenant General Helland assumed command of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in August 1996 and led the MEU through two Mediterranean deployments, during which he was designated Commander, Joint Task Force Nobel Obelisk, Sierra Leone, Africa, for evacuation operations. In April 1999, he was assigned as the Deputy Commander JTF-Shining Hope providing humanitarian assistance to Albanian Kosovo refugees in Albania and Macedonia. In July 1999, he was assigned to US Joint Forces Command, Norfolk VA, as the Director for Operations and Plans. Leaving US Joint Forces Command in August 2001, he reported to US Marine Corps Forces South, Miami, Florida as the Deputy Commanding General, Marine Corps Forces South and the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Forces South. From August 2003 to May 2004, he served as the Assistant Deputy Commandant for Aviation. In May 2004 Lieutenant General Helland assumed command of Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa based in Djibouti, Africa. From August 2005 to July 2007 Lieutenant General Helland commanded the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, MCAS Miramar San Diego, California.

In July 2007, he assumed duty as Deputy Commanding General I MEF, Camp Pendleton Ca before assuming his present assignment as Commanding General IMEF; Commander, Marine Corps Forces Central Command on 2 November 2007.