AGADIR, Morocco -- A cargo ship from the United States arrived in port Feb. 29, with nearly 7,000 tons of military equipment set for use by more than 9,000 troops during Exercise African Lion 20 in the coming weeks.
A team of U.S. Army military logistics and transportation professionals received the equipment Saturday and moved it off the port to training locations in Morocco by Sunday night.
"It takes a lot of coordination. It takes a lot of teamwork," said Lt. Col. Scott Wyatt, commander of the 839th Transportation Battalion, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. "We at SDDC focus on a team of teams: partnerships, friendships and relationships. All of that is being showcased in this movement here in support of African Lion."
Members of the U.S. Army Reserve 451st Expeditionary Sustainment Command and the 970th Movement Control Team joined Utah Army National Guard 1st Battalion, 145th Field Artillery Regiment, and the 101st Airborne Division's 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, to assist the SDDC in clearing the port.
Second Lt. Jean Rossy-Negron, the 970th MCT platoon leader, ensured all pieces were accounted for and tracked their movements all the way to the final destinations at nearby training areas.
"We work hand in hand with the SDDC," Rossy-Negron said. "As soon as it comes off the vessel, it is in our jurisdiction. Once we accounted for everything, it's about getting them ready to roll, whether that's by getting them loaded onto trucks and having them line hauled, or preparing them to be fueled and convoy down on their own."
The crew of about 40 Soldiers and Army civilians worked in darkness before sunrise through darkness after sunset to complete port operations."
The effort was monumental, Wyatt said.
"In order to make something like this exercise be successful," Wyatt said, "to activate reserve component units from the United States, to activate a Ready Reserve fleet vessel from the Department of Transportation, through the Military Sealift Command and, ultimately, U.S. Transportation Command, and get all of that equipment to the port in the U.S., and then get it on the vessel, have it shipped over here, and offload it in the country of Morocco, using Moroccan forces to support our onward movement, as well as Moroccan local authorities to protect our forces here as they download, and to facilitate the movement, is pretty amazing."
Almost 4,000 U.S. troops are scheduled to join 5,000 warfighters from Morocco, Tunisia, Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and many others in African Lion's 17th year. This year's iteration is the largest in its history.
For more on African Lion 20, go to https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/AL20.