No incidents were reported during African Lion, when Moroccan
and U.S. officers worked side by side. The exercise, the largest by the U.S.
Africa Command, took place amid a major Al Qaida strike on Western tourists
in May, in which at least 16 people were killed.
"We have to keep our eyes open for anything that looks out of the
ordinary," said Gunnery Sergeant Logan Conway, an anti-terrorism force
protection chief with 14th Marine Regiment. "The people here are peaceful,
the day goes on and heat rises we have to stay vigilant."
U.S. officers were on alert during the exercise, which included aerial
refueling, intelligence and live fire maneuvers. Officials said the Marines
conducted route reconnaissance and reconnaissance as well as maintained a
constant security assessment. The security officers, many of whom had been
deployed in Iraq, also developed contingency plans based on a review of all
"Because of the security we are provided, we are able to go out to all
the way out to these different sites and get the Moroccan villagers easier
access to medical care," Petty Officer 2nd Class Sy Johnmario, who provided
dental care, said.
African Lion, which contained 900 Moroccans and 2,000 U.S. soldiers,
also contained a peacekeeping phase in which U.S. and Moroccan troops
conducted non-lethal training. Soldiers from both countries used such
equipment as Taser, sprays, batons and non-lethal munitions.