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NEWS | June 17, 2022

Utah National Guard ships AH-64D Apaches to Morocco for African Lion 22

By Lt. Col. Jaime Thomas Utah National Guard

The 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, Utah National Guard, will package and send four AH-64D Apache helicopters to Morocco onboard a C-5 Galaxy, in support of African Lion 22, a U.S. Africa Command annual exercise on Saturday, June 18, 2022.

The 1-211th ARB aircraft maintaniners have to prep the aircraft for loading onto the C-5 by folding the blades and then members of the 151st Air Refueling Wing, Utah Air National Guard, will load and secure the helicopters on the C-5 from Travis Air Force Base, California, for transportation to Morocco.

Approximately 65 members of 1-211th ARB will accompany the helicopters onboard the C-5 to support the Combined Joint Task Force, conduct team- to platoon-level, mission-essential training, integrate with partner forces, demonstrate AH-64D capabilities in advance of acquisition by the Royal Moroccan Forces, enhance the readiness of U.S. Forces, strengthen Africa partners, promote regional stability as part of the exercise, and further develop the Utah National Guard’s State Partnership Program relationship with Morocco.

“As long-standing state partners with Morocco, we are proud to be able to participate in African Lion 22 this year,” said Maj. Noe Vazquez, commander, 1-211th ARB. “This exercise will give us the opportunity to further enhance interoperability and capabilities with partner nations while strenthenging professional relationships.”

The 1-211th ARB will join other Utah National Guard members supporting African Lion 22. The Utah National Guard’s 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) is participating in a command post exercise and Special Operations joint-training events at Agadir, Morocco; Utah Medical Readiness Detachment is providing humanitarian civic assistance at Taliouine, Morocco; and the 151st Air Refueling Wing is providing air refueling support.

African Lion is U.S. Africa Command’s largest and premier annual exercise, involving more than 7,500 service members from June 6 - 30. Led by the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa, African Lion 22 will execute in four countries: Morocco, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia. Militaries from Brazil, Chad, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom will join U.S. and host nation troops. U.S. participants come from all service components, including the Reserves and National Guard.

The exercise sets the theater for access and bolsters interoperability among partner nations. The exercise also involved months of collaboration between all participating countries to ensure proper COVID-19 mitigation protocols are implemented.

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