African lion, American Command for AfricaThe first joint annual exercise of, successfully concluded its 17th edition in Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal on June 18. Military leaders from the United States, Africa, Europe and NATO partners attended the closing ceremony in Tan Tan, Morocco, one of the Locations training exercises.
âI would like to thank our Moroccan, Senegalese and Tunisian partners for welcoming African Lion in their respective countries. This year’s African Lion was the largest and most complex we have had to date, âsaid Major General Rohling, commander of Task Force Southern Europe in Africa. “Almost 8,000 staff from eight different countries participated in this exercise, and another 15 (countries) observed the training with the potential to join African Lion 22.”
Rohling’s Moroccan counterpart, the commander of the southern zone, Lieutenant-General Belkhir El Farouk, also expressed his gratitude for the success of the exercise objectives.
“Through its multi-domain, multi-component and multinational character, African Lion 2021 has utilized a wide range of mission capabilities to enhance interoperability between partner countries and improve the ability to conduct operations in the theater, especially through this year’s engagement of 8,000 people, men and women, including Americans and other multinationals, âEl Farouk said.
the The charge d’affaires at the US mission in Morocco, David Greene, also attended the closing ceremony of exercise African Lion.
âWe are delighted to welcome African Lion, Africa’s largest military exercise, back to Morocco after a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19. The exercise is an essential element of the close strategic partnership between Morocco and the United States, âsaid Greene.
African Lion 21 culminated with a combined arms live-fire exercise demonstrating the capabilities of the total force on June 18 at Tan Tan.
“The 17th edition of the African Lion 2021 exercise has just ended, and it has been a great success at all levels having fulfilled all of its objectives,” said Inspector General of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces Abdelfattah Louarak. âI am convinced that this exercise will succeed in promoting the values ââof peace and solidarity between nations and constitutes an essential step on the road to peace and solidarity in the region and in Africa.
Highlights of the year
On June 9, members of the 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade Combat Team carried out a joint airborne forced entry near the Grier Lobouihi training complex in Morocco. They integrated with the special operations forces of the 19th Special Forces Group and the 41st Fire Brigade to support the pre-infiltration suppression fire of the high mobility artillery rocket systems.
U.S. Air Force personnel and assets in Africa participated in the Moroccan training areas of Kenitra, Ben Guerir, Marrakech, Grier Labouihi and Tan Tan. Events included C-130 Hercules training of crews alongside their Moroccan counterparts to improve airdrop, air transport and aeromedical evacuation capabilities. Additionally, F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots flew alongside Moroccan fighters conducting close air support missions to hone essential skills with KC-135 Stratotanker aircrews providing in-flight refueling support for combined fighter operations.
The maritime portion of the exercise, led by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, included a naval fire exercise, multiple maneuvers at sea, and crisis response capabilities.
“Hershel” Woody “Williams and his crew are proud to be a part of this important exercise as we do our part to help build a better recognized maritime image and enhance maritime domain awareness so that our partners have the timely information available to them. they need to make decisions that impact safety and security, âsaid US Navy Captain Michael Concannon, commanding officer of USS Hershelâ Woody âWilliams (ESB-4).
The Georgia National Guard, with 640 personnel and 200 pieces of equipment deployed to support the exercise, concluded the training event with a combined live fire exercise, June 18. Following a show of force by the US Air Force and Moroccan fighters and planes, Georgian National Guard and Moroccan artillery targets clubbed with high explosive shells.
âThis live combined arms fire gives our soldiers the big picture,â said US Army Lt. Col. John Avera, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Battalion. âIt teaches them to integrate with multinational partners, but also with other weapons such as artillery and armor. When they see the big picture like that, it gives them a better understanding. “
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency trained with the Senegalese and Moroccans to demonstrate their skills during a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training exercise in the port of Agadir, Morocco.
Finally, American and Moroccan soldiers provided medical care to Moroccan citizens at the military medical-surgical field hospital in Tafraoute, Morocco. The humanitarian aid event included a field hospital that treated over 8,000 patients for over 23,000 procedures in 10 days.