FRIDAY FOTO (April 20, 2012)
‘neath African Skies
Marines from the 4th Tank Battalion clean their M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks after a day of training during Exercise Africa Lion 2012 (AL-12). The Africa Command-sponsored bi-lateral exercise in the North African nation of Morocco is led by Marine Forces Africa.
AL-12 includes training with the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces in amphibious assault, live-fire and maneuvering operations as well as peace keeping procedures. There was also an intelligence capacity building seminar, aerial refueling and low-level flight training, as well as medical and dental assistance projects.
U.S. forces participating in the exercise this year included Marines and sailors from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The 14th Marine Regiment, a reserve unit based in Fort Worth, Texas and soldiers from the Utah National Guard also participated. The tankers in the photo above are based at Twentynine Palms, California.
Sadly, two Marine helicopter crew chiefs from the 24th MEU’s aviation element died when their MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft crashed in Morocco on April 11. The tragedy illustrates that even training exercises can be dangerous operations.
The annual exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation’s military tactics, techniques and procedures.
We will have more on Exercise Africa Lion and the Osprey crash in an AROUND AFRICA posting later today. The photo below shows what an Abrams tank rolling across the Moroccan desert looks like in daylight.
For more dramatic photos from this recently concluded exercise, click here. Make sure your click on each image to enlarge them.
Entry filed under: Africa, Counter Insurgency, Counter Terrorism, FRIDAY FOTO, Photos, Skills and Training, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: 24th MEU, Abrams tank, Africa, AFRICOM, Counter Insurgency, Exercise Africa Lion, Marine Corps, Morocco.