In Spain, U.S. Marines train for African interventions


U.S. Marine Corps
February 2, 2015

Moment’s notice; Crisis Response Marines complete readiness rehearsal from Spain
By Sgt. Paul Peterson, Marine Forces Europe and Africa

MORON AIR BASE, Spain:- A platoon of Marines with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response – Africa completed an unscripted alert drill to test the unit’s ability to rapidly respond to regional crises, Jan. 29.

“At any given time we have an alert force ready to [respond] to crises in Africa,” said Capt. Daniel Lakhani, the platoon’s company commander.

SPMAGTF-CR-AF received an alert for a simulated medical evacuation mission at nearby Rota Air Base, Spain, early in the afternoon and gathered its on-call alert force to respond. The Marines assembled at a prearranged staging area, completed planning for their mission, and boarded two MV-22 Ospreys on Morón Air Base. The total time for conducting the rehearsal had to meet the requirement for the Marines to depart Spain within six hours of the order to begin their mission.

The two Ospreys, laden with Marines, departed the air field less than four hours after receiving the initial warning. Less than 30 minutes after landing at Rota Air Base, the Marines had successfully secured the area, pushed several hundred yards to their objective, and extracted the simulated casualty. The process was designed to test the command and alert force’s ability to come together, adapt, and react to the wide range of missions SPMAGTF-CR-AF was created to handle.

On any given day, the unit could participate in multinational training operations…or evacuate an embassy by direction of U.S. Africa Command.

“This mission is different from other missions or deployments the Marines have been on, whether it’s Iraq or Afghanistan, where they were conducting combat operations for a sustained period of time,” noted Lakhani…

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