U.S., French forces fortify longstanding partnership during Alligator Dagger

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The French navy Mistral-class amphibious assault ship LHD Tonnerre (L9014), with embarked U.S. Marines and Sailors from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, and the USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) rehearsed amphibious operations and combat sustainment in the vicinity of Djibouti during Alligator Dagger Dec. 12-21.

This iteration of Alligator Dagger marked the first time where this recurring U.S. training exercise was expanded to include French military partners participating in both the at sea and ashore evolutions.

Approximately 1,000 U.S. 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 in this dynamic and challenging environment. The exercise continued the close cooperation between the U.S. and French Forces deployed on Tonnerre and to rehearse possible contingency operations to provide a highly ready and capable force for crisis response and combat operations.

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.

Alligator Dagger is the largest regional amphibious exercise to integrate and synchronize TF 51/5’s warfighting capabilities with those of adjacent U.S. Naval Forces Special Operations Forces units to ensure they are postured and prepared to execute operations at sea, from the sea and ashore. The two-week combat rehearsal, launched from international waters off the coast of Djibouti and executed on land in the vicinity of Arta Beach, is synchronized with each incoming TF 51/5’s subordinate vessel’s entry into the U.S. 5th Fleet.

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