US Marines complete Ex African Sea Lion with Morocco

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The USS Wasp Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 22nd US Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) completed joint and bilateral exercise African Sea Lion 2016 with Morocco on 14 July.

The ARG/MEU and Royal Moroccan naval forces worked closely over the four-day exercise to improve interoperability in amphibious operations and to conduct mutual training.
“Our relationship with Morocco is vital to our national security. It’s very important that we are able to work with them, especially given their strategic location on the Straits of Gibraltar,” said Captain F. Byron Ogden, Commander, Amphibious Squadron Six.

Forty-two Royal Moroccan Navy and Royal Moroccan Naval Infantry personnel came aboard the USS Wasp (LHD 1) where they participated in mutual training briefs and worked with operations planners to help carry out the mission.

The final day of the exercise culminated in an amphibious raid carried out via MV-22 Ospreys from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 264, Reinforced.

Other aspects of the exercise included division tactics operations with the Royal Moroccan Naval vessel RMS Allal Ben Abdellah, aerial and surface amphibious debarkation practice, air defense, and bilateral diver training.

African Sea Lion is the first bilateral exercise the Wasp ARG has taken part in since their departure from Naval Station Norfolk June 25, 2016.

The Wasp ARG is comprised of Commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) Six, the 22nd MEU, the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17), both homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41), homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia.

The ARG also includes detachments from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, Fleet Surgical Team 2, and Assault Craft Unit 4.