News: African Lion 12 ready to roar: Marine Forces Africa conducts final planning conference
Story by Gunnery Sgt. William Price
AGADIR, Morocco - Marine Forces Africa conducted the final planning conference for African Lion 12 at several locations in Agadir, Morocco, to include the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces southern headquarters facilities, Jan. 23-27.
Exercise African Lion is a bilateral, theater security cooperation exercise led by MFA and is conducted annually between the U.S. military and the Kingdom of Morocco to further develop joint and combined capabilities.
During two weeks of intense training scheduled for mid-April, Task Force African Lion is planning to conduct a variety of exercises, which will include: field and aviation training, humanitarian civic assistance, amphibious landings, intelligence capacity building, and command post and peace support operations.
According to Capt. Jim Philpot, MFA lead planner for AL-12, this conference was crucial to the success of the mission. This was the third and final conference for all forces involved prior to the beginning of military exercises. This is also the fourth year in row, MFA has taken the lead for this exercise, since its inception in 2008.
"We are honored to have the opportunity to continue this essential partnership between the Kingdom of Morocco and the United States. African Lion is our largest exercise on the continent that provides military personnel from both countries a venue to plan, coordinate and execute military operations while strengthening bonds of professionalism and friendship,” Philpot said. “Continuing to build on the progress of previous African Lion exercises is essential to evolving and adding complexity to the exercise. Now we are ready to see it all come to fruition.”
The U.S. and Moroccan armed forces will do everything from combined arms fire and maneuver ranges, aerial refueling and deliveries of supplies, to command post and non-lethal weapons training.
"There are a lot of moving parts to the conference and the exercise, but we are putting it all together," said Mike Hurst, MFA assistant lead planner. "We are committed to showing AFRICOM and the Kingdom of Morocco our commitment to excellence."
Col. Roger Garay, commander of the 14th Marine Regiment, will lead Task Force African Lion, comprised of more than 1,200 Marines, sailors and soldiers. Col. Maj. Brahim Hassani is the AL-12 lead planner for more than 900 Royal Moroccan soldiers throughout the exercise.
“Working with the Moroccans is a great opportunity to exchange both militarily and culturally,” said Garay. “The planning and training has hit all the targets with precision. With the addition of the 24th MEU [Marine Expeditionary Unit] we are more mission capable than ever.”
Concurrent with the exercise, U.S. military professionals from the Utah Army National Guard, along with 4th Medical Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, will provide medical, dental and veterinarian assistance to the local residents in and around Agadir.
“Our intent is to see more than 1,000 patients a day throughout five cities near Agadir,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chuck Kreager, lead medical officer for AL-12. “As well we hope to provide prescription eyeglasses for more than 1,600 Moroccan children.”
After long days of planning and reviewing all of the concepts of operations the week concluded on Friday at an official signing of execution documents. Both Garay and Hassani, along with lead elements of the U.S. Embassy in Morocco, MFA, the MEU, and the aviation squadrons made the future of African Lion 12 official.
After six months of dedicated planning and coordination, African Lion 12 is ready to roar.
This work, African Lion 12 ready to roar: Marine Forces Africa conducts final planning conference, by MSgt William Price, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.