ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Wasp Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) completed joint and bilateral exercise African Sea Lion 2016, July 14.
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 Strait of Gibraltar." - Capt. F. Byron Ogden, commander, Amphibious Squadron 6
The Strait of Gibraltar is 7.7 nautical miles wide and separates the Kingdom of Morocco and Spain. Thousands of merchant ships and military vessels pass through it annually.
Forty-two Royal Moroccan Navy and Royal Moroccan Naval Infantry personnel came aboard amphibious assault ship 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 a simulated amphibious raid carried out via MV-22 Ospreys from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 264 (Reinforced).
Other aspects of the exercise included division tactics operations with 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 departing from Naval Station Norfolk June 25.
Wasp ARG is comprised of Commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 6, the 22nd MEU, Wasp, amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17), both homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, and 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 (HSC) 22, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 22, Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 2, and Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 4.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
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