France, US conclude amphibious drill Alligator Dagger in Djibouti

US Marines assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (15th MEU) board a French landing catamaran enroute to the French navy Mistral-class amphibious assault ship LHD Tonnerre (L9014) during Alligator Dagger. Photo: US Marine Corps

US Marines embarked aboard French amphibious assault ship LHD Tonnerre (L9014) concluded ten days of amphibious operations in the vicinity of Djibouti during the Alligator Dagger exercise.

US marines and sailors from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade rehearsed amphibious operations and combat sustainment between December 12 and 21, together with USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3).

This iteration of Alligator Dagger marked the first time where this recurring US training exercise was expanded to include French military partners participating in both the at sea and ashore evolutions, according to the US Naval Forces Central Command.

Approximately 1,000 US and French troops trained together during the exercise to hone critical skill sets that are essential to ensuring regional stability, freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce.

“As the only standing, forward deployed and fully integrated Navy/Marine Corps command, TF 51/5 prides itself in its ability to synchronize forces afloat and ashore to provide immediate and robust crisis response options to the U.S. Central Command and the National Command Authority,” said Col. Howard Hall, TF 51/5’s director of operations. “While naval integration is the foundation of TF 51/5’s effectiveness and success, partnering with French land and maritime forces in Alligator Dagger represents both a manifestation and expansion of naval integration to include our partners and allies. Combating transregional threats requires multi-domain and multi-national solutions.”

The bilateral engagements focused on noncombatant evacuation operations; amphibious assaults; helicopter-borne raids; visit, board, search and seizure operations; air strikes; defense of the amphibious task force; integrated ground-and-air fires; tactical recovery of personnel; ground reconnaissance; medical casualty evacuations; combat marksmanship and quick reaction force and casualty evacuation rehearsals.

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