Sgt. Bakaffa Casey, a U.S. Army Africa information technology manager was reunite with his mother for the first time since 1999

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – While Master Sgt. Bakaffa Casey, a U.S. Army Africa information technology manager, was in Ethiopia to facilitate communications capabilities for USARAF-led exercise Justified Accord 17, he was able to reunite with his mother, Ferehiout Alemayehu Casey, for the first time since 1999.

“Seeing my family and the culture in person,” he said. “Warms my heart.”

“To see my mother again … It was great,” he said. “This is my first time coming back as an adult … and, yes, there were tears.”

Although Casey has not lived in Ethiopia for many years, he tries to keep the culture with him.

Master Sgt. Bakaffa Casey, an information technology manager with U.S. Army Africa, and his mother pose for a photo at the Peace Support Training Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Casey was able to reunite with his mother and extended family members while in Ethiopia for exercise Justified Accord 17, which was held March 20-24, 2017. JA17 is an annual weeklong joint exercise that brings together U.S. Army personnel, African partners, allies and international organizations to promote interoperability between participating nations for peacekeeping operations in the East Africa region. (U.S. Army Africa photo by Staff Sgt. Lance Pounds)

Casey said many of his extended family members now living in the U.S., often get together on special occasions, during which he is able to be a part of the Ethiopian culture. However nice, he said it did not compare to having the opportunity to experience the culture for himself.

“Serving in USARAF is a unique opportunity for individuals with African-roots,” he said. “Being with USARAF has as allowed me to be here … To reconnect with my heritage – my home.”

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