By Staff Sgt. Danny Whitlock
151st Medical Group
Approximately 80 members of the Utah National Guard participated in the humanitarian civic assistance portion of exercise African Lion 2019, March 25-April 3, 2019 in Tata, Morocco.
African Lion is a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored, U.S. African Command-scheduled, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa-led, joint and combined. African Lion offers an opportunity for participation in a multinational exercise to enhance professional relationships and allow support for interoperability of forces.
The U.S. Armed Forces participants in this portion of exercise brought medical capabilities such as surgery, dentistry, optometry, gynecology, cardiology, internal medicine, pharmacy, radiology, and general public health.
The team arrived in Morocco March 24, to stage equipment and prepare for the two-week-long event. Military personnel included National Guardsmen from Utah, Colorado, California, Montana and Arizona. This multistate team ensured the best medical care was available for the local population seeking it.
Partnership events like this would not be possible without the total-force contribution of both National Guardsmen and Reservists working together alongside the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces, and continuing the strong U.S. partnership with Morocco.
“We are expecting patients seeking treatment for various medical concerns,” said Col. Matt Bird, the commander 151st Medical Group, Utah Air National Guard. “We are supporting the southern region, seeing many Moroccan families. We are expecting to see more than 6,000 patients over the next nine days in the field.”
Multinational exercises like African Lion allows the U.S. National Guard to build and enhance professional relationships while supporting interoperability of forces. In this year’s iteration of African Lion, contributing countries included Canada, France, Morocco, Senegal, Spain, Tunisia, U.K., and U.S.
“Over the last 16 years, the organization of the event and the quality of care to the patients has improved and continues to expand,” said Alva Myers, the force protection officer with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service at Marseille, France. “After medical care is administered, the Moroccan health care system will continue care as a result of having been referred by the field hospital for ongoing care for a single visit, or issues that can’t be taken care of in the field.”
African Lion is an annual training opportunity for U.S. and Moroccan Royal Armed Forces, allowing both parties to further develop tactics, techniques, and medical procedures together, and continue to advance the capabilities of all participants.
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