US Navy, Marine Corps kick off Alligator Dagger

Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade has begun a two-week amphibious training event in international waters off the African coast of Djibouti, the US Department of Defense said. 

As explained, Alligator Dagger is the largest regional amphibious combat rehearsal to integrate and synchronize TF 51/5’s warfighting capabilities and those of adjacent US Naval Forces Central Command and special operations forces units.

“USS Iwo Jima’s Amphibious Ready Group and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit are prepared to rehearse a variety of tactical capabilities in this demanding and globally vital region. This critical amphibious combat proficiency training will ensure our integrated Navy and Marine Corps forces are postured and prepared to execute operations at sea, from the sea and ashore,” Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Frank Donovan, commander of TF 51/5, said.

The expeditionary mobile base USS Lewis B. Puller as well as the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill, the destroyer USS Laboon and the 26th MEU are participating.

Alligator Dagger will provide Iwo Jima and Oak Hill an opportunity to enhance capabilities in critical mission sets. Using landing craft and Iwo Jima’s embarked aircraft, the ships will provide an amphibious capability to deliver 26th MEU Marines, equipment and supplies ashore.

“Alligator Dagger will keep the Iwo Jima ARG ready to effectively deliver a multicapable amphibious force to austere environments by air or sea,” Navy Capt. Jack Killman, commodore of Amphibious Squadron 4, said.

Alligator Dagger is an integrated combat proficiency training the Navy and Marine Corps team engage in during their deployment in Centcom’s area of responsibility. Specifically, this exercise will enable the military to execute amphibious training; live-fire; visit, board, search and seizure; tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel; and air assault evolutions.