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    41st FAB fires HIMARS in Africa for the first time

    U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Field Artillery Brigade deployed High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and conducted a suppression of enemy air defense live fire in Guerir Libouihi Air Base, Morocco, June 9, 2021, in order to allow paratroopers from 173rd Airborne Brigade to conduct an air insertion mission as part of exercise African Lion 21.

    African Lion 21 is the first time the 41st FAB has conducted a live-fire exercise outside of Europe and alongside African Partner nations since it was reactivated in 2018. This live fire mission was the 41st FAB’s fourth exercise in the Fires Shock series and a sub-exercise of Defender Europe 21.

    “Our part of African Lion is a joint operation between U.S. Army artillery and airborne forces,” said Capt. Micah Thompson, battery commander, Alpha, 1-77 FAR. “We will deploy to Morocco and conduct a suppression of enemy air defense fire mission in support of an airborne operation conducted by 173rd Airborne Brigade.”

    The 41st FAB is the only U.S. long-range, precision-strike capable Multiple Launch Rocket Systems and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems capable unit in Europe. This exercise enhances their ability to deploy to any location across the globe and command and control long –range fires increasing their ability to fight and win as part of a U.S. –led NATO force.
    The smoldering heat of the Sahara Desert did little to dampen the Soldiers’ spirits as they continued to train through harsh conditions including sandstorms and temperatures exceeding 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

    “This exercise is super important, especially for our new Soldiers who have never deployed, it will give them some hands-on experience in training with our NATO allies” said Staff Sgt. Zariah Fernandez, Alpha, 1-77 FAR, crew chief. “It will also allow us to gain a cultural awareness of our allies and partners, and help us operate with them better because of this shared experience.”

    During the five days spent in Morocco the U.S. and Moroccan forces interacted constantly, giving U.S. Soldiers a first-hand perspective of exactly what they do on a daily basis.

    “I’m very excited to work with the Moroccan Ground Forces,” said Spc. Fleck, HIMARS driver, Alpha, 1-77 FAR. “I’ve been in the Army for two years and this is my first mission, so I am excited to get some hands-on experience.”

    This trip to Morocco was a great opportunity to show the Moroccan Ground Forces the U.S. has the capability to rapidly deploy to any location with their HIMARS, quickly execute a fire-mission, and then deploy to a new location and repeat the process.

    “Enhancing relationships with allies and partners ensures the U.S. remain connected to the regional relationships it has developed,” said Thompson. “Additionally, the U.S. is always seeking out ways to improve security, interoperability, and host nation relations.”

    Alpha battery had just finished Saber Guardian 21 in Bulgaria one week prior to African Lion 21, proving the Soldiers’ ability to conduct multiple missions and redeploy to a different region in a short amount of time.

    “As always, it’s the Soldiers ability to adapt and overcome challenges that ensure the success of these exercises,” said Fernandez. “They are constantly training, adapting, and overcoming any situation that they face.”

    “I just want to thank my Soldiers for their outstanding dedication to the mission,” said Thompson. “Their ability to adapt and overcome challenges has been really impressive, and as a commander, I couldn’t ask for more from my troops.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.07.2021
    Date Posted: 06.18.2021 03:50
    Story ID: 399189
    Location: MA

    Web Views: 115
    Downloads: 0

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