TAN-TAN, Morocco — As the multinational training exercise African Lion 22 ended, leaders from the Idaho National Guard and other U.S. states joined partner nations in Morocco on June 30 to observe the soldiers from several countries working together in a combined arms live-fire mission.
“African Lion is not only a unique and adventurous training opportunity for our Soldiers but also serves as a strategic demonstration of our commitment to partner nations for the regional stability of northern Africa,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, adjutant general of Idaho. “Building and maintaining multinational partnerships is key to global security and stability.”
Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers with the 1st Battalion of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment and their counterparts from California, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin trained with the Royal Moroccan Army for African Lion 22 for most of June.
During the exercise, Marines called in air strikes as Idaho’s 1st Battalion of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment fired M795 high explosive rounds from M109A6 howitzers. Soldiers with the Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin Army National Guard, a Marine Corps Reserve unit based in California and active-duty Soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas, provided ground cover with preparatory and destructive fires and obscuration using M825 white smoke rounds.
About 80 members of Idaho’s battalion from the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team left the United States June 18 for the two-week exercise.
“One goal of the National Defense Strategy is to have good international relations and partnerships,” said Maj. Ryan Batt, operations officer for the 1-148th FAR. “Building multinational relationships, increasing their tactical proficiency and understanding how to work together reduces deployment requirements for our military and our international partners, and helps provide global security.”
African Lion is a multinational, combined joint exercise conducted in Morocco, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia in June. Almost 4,000 U.S. service members and more than 4,000 troops from Brazil, Canada, Ghana, Morocco, NATO, Netherlands, Senegal, Tunisia and the United Kingdom participated in U.S. AFRICOM’s largest annual exercise.