US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashes during Exercise African Lion in Morocco

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An MV-22 Osprey operating from the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) has crashed in a Royal Moroccan military training area southwest of Agadir, Morocco, while participating in the bilateral Exercise African Lion.

Four U.S. Marine Corps personnel were on the aircraft at the time of the incident, US Africa Command announced yesterday. Two died as a result of their injuries sustained in the crash. The two other personnel were severely injured in the crash and are being medically evacuated for further treatment.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

The MV-22 Osprey was assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 261 based at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River, NC and deployed on March 29. The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) with the embarked 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), are participating in Exercise African Lion, a bilateral, theater security cooperation exercise led by U.S. Marine Forces Africa.

The exercise is conducted annually between the U.S. military and the Kingdom of Morocco to further develop joint and combined capabilities. The exercise is focusing on building capacity, capability, and interoperability in the following areas: field and aviation training, humanitarian civic assistance, amphibious landings, intelligence capacity building, and command post and peace support operations.

The exercise runs between April 8 and 17 and will be followed by 10 days of breakdown and redeployment. More than 1 000 Marines, and about 200 soldiers, sailors and airmen from across the U.S. are participating.

Marines are working beside Moroccan counterparts to conduct events such as small-arms weapons training, infantry tactics training, battle tank operations, combat engineering operations, artillery operations and light-armored reconnaissance training. The end result of this training will prepare participants to successfully conduct a mechanized, motorized, helo-born, combined arms assault.

African Lion, first executed in 2008, involves various types of training including command post, live-fire and maneuvering, peace support operations, an intelligence capacity building seminar, aerial refueling/low-level flight training, as well as medical and dental assistance projects.