Some 1,000 U.S. service members are in Morocco this month for African Lion, the largest bilateral military exercise on the African continent.
Sponsored by U.S. Africa Command, the annual exercise is a partnership between Marine Forces Africa and the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces. Participating units include 3rd Battalion, 14th Marines, 4th Combat Engineering Battalion, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine regiment infantrymen, 4th Combined Anti-Armor Team and 4th Marine Logistics Group, plus multiple sub-units. More than 900 Royal Moroccan soldiers will join U.S. military personnel in the exercise.
The bulk of Africa Lion takes place over the next two weeks. Highlights include field and aviation training, amphibious assault training and humanitarian and peacekeeping training. U.S. and Moroccan forces will conduct arms fire and maneuver ranges and aerial refueling and deliveries of supplies, as well as command post and non-lethal weapons training, according to a press release from U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe. Six different locations around Morocco will be involved.
African Lion will also include medical, dental and veterinarian assistance projects. Medical professionals from Utah Army National Guard and 4th Medical Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, expect to assist thousands of local residents and provide more than 1,600 prescription glasses to Moroccan children, according to the African Lion lead medial officer.
The first African Lion exercise took place in 2008. This year’s exercise took about six months to plan.