TAN TAN, Morocco – African Lion, U.S. Africa Command’s premier joint annual
exercise, successfully wrapped up its 17th iteration in Morocco, Tunisia and
Senegal, June 18. Military leaders from the United States, African, European
and NATO partners attended the closing ceremony held in one of the exercise
training locations in Tan Tan, Morocco.
“I would like to thank our Moroccan, Senegalese and Tunisian partners for
hosting African Lion in their respective countries. This year’s African Lion
was the largest and most complex we have had, to date,” said Maj. Gen.
Rohling, Commander of the Southern European Task Force Africa. “Close to
eight thousand personnel from eight different countries participated in this
exercise, and another fifteen observed the training with the potential to
join for African Lion 22.”
Rohling’s Moroccan counterpart, Southern Zone Commander Lt. Gen. Belkhir El
Farouk, also expressed his gratitude for the successful accomplishment of
the exercise objectives.
“Thanks to its multi-domain, multi-component, and multi-national character,
African Lion 2021 employed a wide array of mission capabilities in order to
strengthen interoperability between partner nations, and enhance the
aptitude to conduct in-theater operations, particularly through this year’s
engagement of 8,000 personnel, both men and women, including Americans and
other multinationals,” said El Farouk.
The Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Mission in Morocco, David Greene, also
attended the closing ceremony of exercise African Lion.
“We are thrilled to welcome African Lion – the largest military exercise in
Africa—back to Morocco after a one-year hiatus because of COVID-19. The
exercise is a critical component of the close, strategic partnership between
Morocco and the United States,” Chargé Greene said.
On June 9, the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment “The Rock,”
of the 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade Combat Team conducted an Airborne
Joint Forcible Entry (JFE) near the Grier Lobouihi training complex. They
integrated with Special Operations Forces from the 19th Special Forces Group
and HIMARs rocket launch systems from the 41st Fires Brigade to support
pre-infiltration suppressive fires.
Air Force assets and troops participated in the training locations of
Kenitra, Ben Guerir, Marrakech, Grier Labouihi and Tan Tan, Morocco. The
C-130s trained alongside their Moroccan counterparts to hone airdrop,
airlift and aeromedical evacuation capabilities. The F-16s flew alongside
Moroccan fighters, performing close air support missions to sharpen
essential skill sets. The KC-135s provided aerial refueling support for the
combined fighter operations throughout the exercise. The U.S. JTACs trained
Moroccan JTACs and supported airdrop operations.
African Lion 21 culminated with a combined arms live-fire exercise
displaying capabilities of the total force June 18, 2021, in Tan Tan,
Morocco. The exercise allowed the Georgia Army National Guard to deploy to
an austere environment, employ mission capability, and strengthen
interoperability, resulting in enhancement of readiness and lethality.
Additional training took place in Tifnit, where U.S. special operations
forces trained alongside their Moroccan counterparts.
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency trained with the Senegalese and
Moroccans at the port of Agadir through a CBRNE scenario.
As part of the maritime domain of the exercise, the Navy warship USS Hershel
Woody Williams stopped at the port of Agadir to train alongside a Moroccan
In Tafraoute, the humanitarian assistance event included a field hospital
that treated over 8,000 patients for more than 23,000 procedures in 10 days.
African Lion is U.S. Africa Command’s largest, premier joint annual
exercise. The training is focused on enhancing readiness for U.S. and
partner nation forces.