Page 93 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
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  Cpl Mitchell, Team 5, overseeing training with the Moroccan SOF
 Partnering in Morocco: Ex AFRICAN LION
Team 5 spent the first half of B Company’s opera- tions cycle as the Mobile Training Team, or ‘Globe- trotters’. In 2019, this meant commitments to a pioneering UK exercise in Egypt and then subse- quent participation in Exercise African Lion 19.
Exercise African Lion is an annual, multinational, staff and tactical exercise in Morocco. It is run, and largely funded, by the US, who also provide a significant number of the participants. Team 5 were accommodated alongside a Scout unit, Apache Troop 1-75 CAV, from the 101st Airborne Division, in Tifnit in southern Morocco.
The Moroccan units involved were all specialists in counter-terrorist skills in different ways, ranging from mountain pursuit (the Atlas Hunters, or BCA) to the more conventional vehicle check points and urban clearance drills (the Moroccan SOF were particularly skilled here). The exercise’s focus on countering violent extremists therefore allowed all the participating units to draw on their own experi- ences and expertise in developing new skills. Team 5 constructed and led with delivery on the training programme, but were supported by US counter- parts throughout.
The programme included heavy weapons, marks- manship, sniping, and counter-IED training, and proved a perfect forum for the exchange of ideas. Cpl Sulaiman and the US Snipers went to great lengths to construct urban hides for demonstration, which proved worthwhile when the commander of US Forces in Africa came to have a look. CSjt Galliano built a great rapport with his American fellow C-IED instructor, who also seemed to be a useful source of American kit for exchange, whilst Sjt Zareh ensured that all the American NCOs were in no doubt as to the stresses of attending a career course in Sennybridge in January!
Despite the positive rapport with the US, Team 5 were largely self-sufficient as Apache Troop ran their own Exercise. At various stages we were able to plug in: firing grenades at a recently-crashed BMW, watching their demolitions team explode almost a tonne of ordnance, chasing their lead platoon around the CQB facility with simulation rounds in the
evening. And at others we were content to watch from the side-lines - for example when the Troop completed their annual ‘ruck march’, a four-hour patrol at a snail’s pace (with a 0300 start!).
There was a more serious side to the enter- prise, which was with the large in the Visitors’ Day attendance at the end. Representation from US senators, Tunisian, Algerian, British and other NATO generals, as well as plenty of Moroccan press, illus- trated that the partnership acquired and improved by Exercise African Lion is important for the region’s stability. Morocco is a stable partner in a region with numerous problems, and our small part in strength- ening that was hugely rewarding.
It was heart-warming from a Regimental perspective, too, to be recognised by many of our Moroccan hosts for the Rifles TRF. Teams from 4 RIFLES have attended several exercises in Morocco under the Spec Inf banner and will hand over respon- sibility for this region to 2 PWRR in summer 2019; our Moroccan hosts however were particularly keen for continued Rifles involvement!
Capt Tom Jelly
         THE RIFLES
Cpl Buckle, Team 5, part of a multinational stack!

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