Marines with an Africa-focused crisis response team will do a long-range insertion from Spain to Portugal, link up with Portuguese troops to urban ops training and live fires, including anti-tanks missiles.
The Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response Africa 20.1 is on the bilateral exercise from Monday to Friday.
“The exercise will culminate with a four-wave MV-22 Osprey insertion of U.S. and Portuguese Marines into a training complex where they will simulate an assault of an embedded enemy platoon as part of a quick-reaction force,” according to a Marine Forces, Europe and Africa statement.
They also plan to fire M72A7 Light Anti-Tank Weapon rockets during the various live fires that are scheduled for the exercise, according to the statement.
The exercise, dubbed “Wild Crocodile II,” allows the SPMAGTF to rehearse movements and work a coordinated attack with partner forces. The unit deployed to Moron de la Frontera, Spain, in mid-September.
For this exercise they’ll move from Moron Air Base, Spain, to the training area in Lisbon, Portugal, a distance of about 320 miles.
Its primary responsibility is military operational needs in U.S. Africa Command, which includes theater security cooperation, embassy reinforcement, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and other security needs.
The SPMAGTF-CR-AF was established in 2013 and typically consists of 850 Marines and sailors. Originally, in 2011, a smaller SPMAGTF dedicated to Africa with about 120 Marines mostly focused on humanitarian aid and limited crisis response was in place, based out of Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily.
Marine Corps Times reported in 2013 that the SPMAGT-CR-AF had 500 Marines, which included a company of infantrymen based around six MV-22B Ospreys and two KC-130J Hercules tanker planes.
The unit was conceived to cope with the kind of turmoil that has arisen during the last year in Mali, Algeria, Libya and other northern-African countries, Marine officials said at the time.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.