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U.S. Marines, Moroccan Aviators Come Together for African Lion Exercise
U.S. Marine and Royal Moroccan Air Force aircrew and support personnel participated in an aviation training exercise (ATX) as part of the annual African Lion 2009 activities. <br /> <br />Marines from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234
KENITRA, Morocco - Corporal Richard Jimenez (left), Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 avionics technician, discusses a pre-flight manifest with a Moroccan airman during Exercise AFRICAN LION 2009 on May 22, 2009. Throughout the exercise, Ft. Worth, Texas-based Marines with VMGR-234 have been working with Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew and mechanics to conduct aerial refueling, low-level flight, and other training. The annually scheduled, combined U.S.-Moroccan exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures and is scheduled to run until June 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Rocco DeFilippis)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 4: KENITRA, Morocco - Corporal Richard Jimenez (left), Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 avionics technician, discusses a pre-flight manifest with a Moroccan airman during Exercise AFRICAN LION 2009 on May 22, 2009. Throughout the exercise, Ft. Worth, Texas-based Marines with VMGR-234 have been working with Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew and mechanics to conduct aerial refueling, low-level flight, and other training. The annually scheduled, combined U.S.-Moroccan exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures and is scheduled to run until June 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Rocco DeFilippis) Download full-resolution version
KENITRA, Morocco - A Royal Moroccan Air Force F-5 jet approaches the refueling basket May 22, 2009 during a fixed wing aerial refueling mission in support of Exercise AFRICAN LION 2009. Throughout the exercise, Fort Worth, Texas-based Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 have been working with Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew and mechanics to conduct aerial refueling, low-level flight and other training. The annually scheduled, combined U.S.-Moroccan exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures and is scheduled to run until June 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Rocco DeFilippis)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 4: KENITRA, Morocco - A Royal Moroccan Air Force F-5 jet approaches the refueling basket May 22, 2009 during a fixed wing aerial refueling mission in support of Exercise AFRICAN LION 2009. Throughout the exercise, Fort Worth, Texas-based Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 have been working with Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew and mechanics to conduct aerial refueling, low-level flight and other training. The annually scheduled, combined U.S.-Moroccan exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures and is scheduled to run until June 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Rocco DeFilippis) Download full-resolution version
KENITRA, Morocco - Sergeant David Goldblatt, load master, observes the aerial refueling of a Royal Moroccan Air Force F-5 jet during a fixed wing aerial refueling mission May 22, 2009 in support of Exercise AFRICAN LION 2009. Throughout the exercise, Fort Worth-based Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 have been working with Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew, and mechanics to conduct aerial refueling, low-level flight and other training. The annually scheduled, combined U.S.-Moroccan exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures and is scheduled to run until June 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Rocco DeFilippis)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 3 of 4: KENITRA, Morocco - Sergeant David Goldblatt, load master, observes the aerial refueling of a Royal Moroccan Air Force F-5 jet during a fixed wing aerial refueling mission May 22, 2009 in support of Exercise AFRICAN LION 2009. Throughout the exercise, Fort Worth-based Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 have been working with Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew, and mechanics to conduct aerial refueling, low-level flight and other training. The annually scheduled, combined U.S.-Moroccan exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures and is scheduled to run until June 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Rocco DeFilippis) Download full-resolution version
KENITRA, Morocco - Sergeant Jared Fowler (front right), Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 load master, provides instruction on the employment of the rapid ground refueling system to a group of Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew and flight engineers during Exercise AFRICAN LION 2009 on May 22, 2009. Throughout the exercise, Ft. Worth, Texas-based Marines with VMGR-234 have been working with Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew and mechanics to conduct aerial refueling, low-level flight and other training. The annually scheduled, combined U.S. -Moroccan exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures and is scheduled to run until June 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Rocco DeFilippis)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 4 of 4: KENITRA, Morocco - Sergeant Jared Fowler (front right), Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 load master, provides instruction on the employment of the rapid ground refueling system to a group of Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew and flight engineers during Exercise AFRICAN LION 2009 on May 22, 2009. Throughout the exercise, Ft. Worth, Texas-based Marines with VMGR-234 have been working with Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew and mechanics to conduct aerial refueling, low-level flight and other training. The annually scheduled, combined U.S. -Moroccan exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures and is scheduled to run until June 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Rocco DeFilippis) Download full-resolution version
KENITRA, Morocco - Corporal Richard Jimenez (left), Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 avionics technician, discusses a pre-flight manifest with a Moroccan airman during Exercise AFRICAN LION 2009 on May 22, 2009. Throughout the exercise, Ft. Worth, Texas-based Marines with VMGR-234 have been working with Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew and mechanics to conduct aerial refueling, low-level flight, and other training. The annually scheduled, combined U.S.-Moroccan exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures and is scheduled to run until June 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Rocco DeFilippis)
KENITRA, Morocco - A Royal Moroccan Air Force F-5 jet approaches the refueling basket May 22, 2009 during a fixed wing aerial refueling mission in support of Exercise AFRICAN LION 2009. Throughout the exercise, Fort Worth, Texas-based Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 have been working with Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew and mechanics to conduct aerial refueling, low-level flight and other training. The annually scheduled, combined U.S.-Moroccan exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures and is scheduled to run until June 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Rocco DeFilippis)
KENITRA, Morocco - Sergeant David Goldblatt, load master, observes the aerial refueling of a Royal Moroccan Air Force F-5 jet during a fixed wing aerial refueling mission May 22, 2009 in support of Exercise AFRICAN LION 2009. Throughout the exercise, Fort Worth-based Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 have been working with Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew, and mechanics to conduct aerial refueling, low-level flight and other training. The annually scheduled, combined U.S.-Moroccan exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures and is scheduled to run until June 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Rocco DeFilippis)
KENITRA, Morocco - Sergeant Jared Fowler (front right), Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 load master, provides instruction on the employment of the rapid ground refueling system to a group of Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew and flight engineers during Exercise AFRICAN LION 2009 on May 22, 2009. Throughout the exercise, Ft. Worth, Texas-based Marines with VMGR-234 have been working with Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew and mechanics to conduct aerial refueling, low-level flight and other training. The annually scheduled, combined U.S. -Moroccan exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures and is scheduled to run until June 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Rocco DeFilippis)
U.S. Marine and Royal Moroccan Air Force aircrew and support personnel participated in an aviation training exercise (ATX) as part of the annual African Lion 2009 activities.

Marines from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 (VMGR-234), based at Forth Worth, Texas, and their Moroccan counterparts conducted fixed-wing aerial refueling, assault support, rapid ground refueling, and classroom instruction both here and in sites throughout Morocco.

African Lion is an annual U.S.-Moroccan exercise designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures. The month-long exercise, led by Marine Forces Africa, the Marine component of U.S. Africa Command, is scheduled to end June 4.

Lieutenant Colonel William Smith, African Lion deputy task force commander, said the ATX portion of the African Lion serves as the important aviation piece of the limited Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) of the exercise.

"[The ATX] is important because it allows us to demonstrate the capability and flexibility of the MAGTF," said Smith. "It also provides us with a great opportunity for bi-lateral training."

Since their arrival, the Marines of VMGR-234 have worked closely with the Royal Moroccan Air Force during numerous fixed-wing aerial refueling missions, providing Moroccan F-5 pilots with a chance to hone their in-flight refueling skills.

In addition to supporting the F-5s, Lieutenant Colonel Doug Strumpf, detachment commander and VMGR-234 executive officer, said the squadron has been training with Moroccan C-130 pilots, aircrew and mechanics throughout the training exercise.

"Every crew position has a similar counterpart on the Moroccan Air Force side," Strumpf said. "So, we have a great chance here to work with each other -- to familiarize each other with our tactics, techniques and procedures -- and it is a benefit to both our organizations."

As part of the bi-lateral spirit of the exercise, Strumpf said the Marines and the Moroccans have been conducting their training to highlight the capabilities that the Marines' KC-130 refuelers bring to the battlefield.

Staff Sergeant Brendan Johnson, VMGR-234 loadmaster, said the Marines are focusing on training evolutions like aerial refueling and rapid ground refueling because they give commanders on the ground unique support and capability.

"The focus is on the seamless integration of air and ground assets to support the bilateral training that is taking place [here]," Johnson said. "But it's also a chance for our Marines to stay current in some of the missions we don't normally get the chance to do such as rapid ground refueling."

This year's exercise marks the third time a detachment from the VMGR-234 has traveled to North Africa to train with their Moroccan counterparts.

"[The Marine Corps C-130 community] is small and we build strong bonds and friendships," Strumpf said. "The relationships we have established throughout our time here have given way to those same strong friendships, and this truly is a great chance to build on a strong and lasting friendship between our two countries."
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