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  • 2015
Maritime Prepositioning Force offload sets stage for African Lion 15

By Cpl. Elizabeth Case, Defense Media Activity

PORT OF AGADIR, Morocco -- A joint team of U.S. service members started Exercise African Lion 15 with a Maritime Prepositioning Force offload May 7-8, 2015, at the port of Agadir, Morocco.

An MPF is a strategic capability that provides commanders a forward presence by offloading combat equipment and supplies from U.S. Military Sealift Command ships. By sea, facilities and vehicles can support and sustain various units and missions, like AL-15, anywhere in the world, a mission of U.S. Transportation Command in wartime and peacetime. 

The port-opening team consisted of Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 453, Combat Logistics Regiment 4, 4th Marine Logistics Group, and sailors with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11, 1st Naval Construction Group.

“The MPF that the Marine Corps uses is our ability to power-project throughout the world,” said Col. Brian Wolford, the commanding officer of Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group. “What we’re doing here today is exercising a small piece of that and keeping up our training ability to pull gear off the ship, prepare it for the [units] here in Morocco.”

The offloaded equipment will support and sustain U.S., Moroccan and German Bundeswehr Armed Forces during their joint and combined training engagements of African Lion 15, mid-May 2015.

“The most expensive and timely part of a power-projection is the movement of equipment,” said Wolford. “With the equipment already in theater, all we have to do is fly the personnel and the Marines out to meet the equipment, and issue it out to units for them to take it out into training here in Morocco.”

To ensure a successful offload, Marines conducted training to work-up to the scale of MPF operations conducted in support of African Lion 15. 

“For my platoon specifically, we have Marines here that have done MPF offloads before, some up to a dozen, and that’s a great set of experience to have,” said 1st Lt. Katherine Laws, the port officer in charge for the exercise, with CLR-2. “We also have new Marines, and for those we spent about two months prepping those new Marines so they understand the concepts of the MPF offload.” 

Overall, the offload was a success, according to Laws. 

“The Marines have been doing a great job,” said Laws. “They’ve really taken to their training. They’re being safe out here, which is obviously one of my main concerns and absolutely outpacing the rest of the exercise.”

The MPF enabled a more robust training evolution including a combined-joint task force command-post exercise, intelligence capacity building workshop, stability and peacekeeping support operations, an aviation training exercise, and humanitarian assistance event spanning from Agadir to Tan Tan, Tifnit and Tiznit. 

This exercise reinforces training engagements conducted in previous African Lion exercises and creates a foundation for slated inter-military cooperation in the future by continuing to build the familiarity and operational proficiency with Moroccan Armed Forces.
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