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U.S. Navy Capt. from Park Rapids completes tour in CJTF-HOA

A U.S. Navy Sailor from Park Rapids, is nearing the end of his yearlong tour at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, as the Combined Joint Task Force- Horn of Africa director of logistics.

Captain Bruce Weidner, a U.S. Navy Reservist stationed out of San Diego, joined the active duty Navy 27 years ago in 1989. He is not the only one in his family to join the military. His father was drafted during the Korean conflict, one brother and a sister joined the Army and another sister joined the Air Force. Weidner is the youngest of eight siblings from Mary and Alvin Weidner. He is husband to wife Lauren and has two children, Jake, 21 years old and Julia, 16 years old.

Since being in the Navy, Weidner has been to every continent except for Australia and has been through every sea except the Mediterranean. He has even been through the Panama Canal twice, Weidner said.

At CJTF-HOA, he is responsible for overall logistics support including; local procurement, the joint logistics planning team, acquisitions of stock material, management of the fuel supply, base operations support for new contingency locations, management of CJTF-HOA’s ammunition allowance, storage and inventory, and much more. He also helped turn Camp Lemonnier into a logistics hub for all of Eastern Africa and established the first surface route from CLDJ to Manda Bay, Kenya.

“This deployment has been the most rewarding, extensive and professionally challenging experience,” said Weidner. “First, because of working with all the different service branches and, second, working with the Africa command staff has been eye opening to see the degree of reliance between [different military branches], Department of State and US Transportation Command.”

This is Weidner’s fifth deployment, and he finds it his most memorable because of the people he’s worked with, his travel to nine out of the 10 countries in the area of responsibility, and simply living in Africa’s exotic continent. He was also able to spend his rest and relaxation time with his family in Spain, he said.

“One skill I am going to take away from here is dealing with the heat,” he laughed. “But it’s really being able to develop a new comfort level with my compatriots and other service members.”

Once he returns home, he plans on going on a family vacation and tuna fishing with his son.

“Ever since I left Park Rapids in 1982, never once did I imagine I would spend a year in the horn of Africa and enjoy it,” he mused.