15th MEU News

15th MEU, America ARG leadership meet with Djiboutian Chief of Defense

13 Sep 2017 | Capt. Maida Zheng 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (Sept. 13, 2017) – 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and America Amphibious Ready Group leadership hosted the Republic of Djibouti Chief of Defense Gen. Zakaria Cheikh Ibrahim, Brig. Gen. Ali Mohamed Taher, Deputy Chief of Defense, and Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Phil Purcell, for an official visit aboard amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) Sept. 13, to discuss the growing U.S.-Djibouti military relationship, review crisis response demonstrations during Alligator Dagger and provide updates regarding joint regional security contributions.

Capt. Rome Ruiz, Amphibious Squadron 3 commander and commodore of the America ARG, highlighted the Chief of Defense’s commitment to regional security – specifically their deployment in support of the African Union Mission in Somalia.

“The General's visit to USS America highlights our strong Djiboutian-American partnership,” said Capt. John Tully, the Defense Attaché for the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti. “Gen. Zakaria and his team were able to see, first-hand, the training that benefits from the unique security ties between our two nations.”

Col. Joseph Clearfield, 15th MEU commanding officer, and Ruiz presented a MEU-ARG capabilities brief during the visit and an overview of Alligator Dagger – the largest regional amphibious rehearsal to integrate and synchronize Naval Amphibious Forces, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade’s (TF 51/5) capabilities that are available to U.S. Central Command both afloat and ashore to ensure our forces are postured and prepared to execute operations at sea, from the sea and ashore.

Clearfield discussed the unparalleled opportunity Alligator Dagger provides for a consolidated ARG and MEU to practice critical mission sets together that enhance capabilities inherent to the Navy and Marine Corps, ultimately enabling the blue-green team to be a strong partner in the region.

“Together, the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps team provides a versatile sea-based, expeditionary force that can be tailored to a variety of missions in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations,” said Clearfield.

The official visit concluded with a tour of America’s flight deck, medical spaces, hangar bay and bridge.
Also present for the visit were the Djiboutian Chief of Navy, Chief of Air Force, a representative from the Djiboutian Coast Guard, and both TF 51/5’s Navy and Marine Corps deputy commanders.

“We truly appreciate your devotion to duty, despite a rigorous schedule, to ensure you met with our Marines and Sailors,” said Capt. Joseph Olson, America’s commanding officer, in a letter provided to the Chief of Defense upon conclusion of the visit. “Your dedication confirms the commitment to enhancing partnerships and working jointly toward regional security.”

15th Marine Expeditionary Unit