‘Alligator Dagger’ Exercise Features Franco-American Partnership


The French navy amphibious assault ship LHD Tonnerre with embarked U.S. Marines and sailors from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, and the expeditionary mobile base ship USS Lewis B. Puller rehearsed amphibious and combat sustainment operations near Djibouti during Exercise Alligator Dagger, Dec. 12-21.

Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade
U.S. Marines assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit board a French landing catamaran en route to the French navy amphibious assault ship LHD Tonnerre during Exercise Alligator Dagger at Arta Beach, Djibouti, Dec. 18, 2017. Alligator Dagger, led by Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, is a dedicated, bilateral combat rehearsal that combines U.S. and French forces to practice integrated capabilities available to U.S. Central Command, both afloat and ashore. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jessica Y. Lucio
Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade
U.S. Soldiers tour French Assault Ship Tonnerre during Alligator Dagger
U.S. Marines assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit board a French landing catamaran en route to the French navy amphibious assault ship LHD Tonnerre during Exercise Alligator Dagger at Arta Beach, Djibouti, Dec. 18, 2017. Alligator Dagger, led by Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, is a dedicated, bilateral combat rehearsal that combines U.S. and French forces to practice integrated capabilities available to U.S. Central Command, both afloat and ashore. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jessica Y. Lucio
Photo By: Staff Sgt. Vitaliy Rusavskiy
VIRIN: 171218-M-QL632-012

This iteration of Alligator Dagger marked the first time where this recurring U.S. training exercise was expanded to include French military partners participating in the at sea and ashore evolutions.

U.S.-French Partnership

Approximately 1,000 U.S. and French troops trained together during the exercise to hone skills essential to ensuring regional stability, freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region. The exercise featured close cooperation between the U.S. and French forces deployed on the Tonnerre. The forces rehearsed possible contingency operations to provide a ready and capable force for crisis response and combat operations.

"As the only standing, forward deployed and fully integrated Navy/Marine Corps command, TF 51/5 prides itself in its ability to synchronize forces afloat and ashore to provide immediate and robust crisis response options to the U.S. Central Command and the National Command Authority," said Marine Corps Col. Howard Hall, TF 51/5's director of operations.

Hall added, "While naval integration is the foundation of TF 51/5's effectiveness and success, partnering with French land and maritime forces in Alligator Dagger represents both a manifestation and expansion of naval integration to include our partners and allies. Combating transregional threats requires multidomain and multinational solutions."

171217-M-QL632-315 DJIBOUTI (Dec. 17, 2017) – A U.S. Marine with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit waits for the perfect opportunity to take the shot during live-fire training in support of Alligator Dagger. Alligator Dagger, led by Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Expedition Brigade, is a dedicated, bilateral combat rehearsal that combines U.S. and French forces to practice, rehearse and exercise integrated capabilities available to U.S. Central Command both afloat and ashore. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Vitaliy Rusavskiy)
A U.S. Marine with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit waits to take his shot during live-fire training in support of Exercise Alligator Dagger near Djibouti, Dec. 17, 2017. Alligator Dagger, led by Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, is a dedicated, bilateral combat rehearsal that combines U.S. and French forces to practice integrated capabilities available to U.S. Central Command, both afloat and ashore. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Vitaliy Rusavskiy
171217-M-QL632-315 DJIBOUTI (Dec. 17, 2017) – A U.S. Marine with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit waits for the perfect opportunity to take the shot during live-fire training in support of Alligator Dagger. Alligator Dagger, led by Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Expedition Brigade, is a dedicated, bilateral combat rehearsal that combines U.S. and French forces to practice, rehearse and exercise integrated capabilities available to U.S. Central Command both afloat and ashore. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Vitaliy Rusavskiy)
Alligator Dagger live fire lane rehearsal
A U.S. Marine with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit waits to take his shot during live-fire training in support of Exercise Alligator Dagger near Djibouti, Dec. 17, 2017. Alligator Dagger, led by Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, is a dedicated, bilateral combat rehearsal that combines U.S. and French forces to practice integrated capabilities available to U.S. Central Command, both afloat and ashore. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Vitaliy Rusavskiy
Photo By: Staff Sgt. Vitaliy Rusavskiy
VIRIN: 171217-M-QL632-316

Honing Warfighting Skills

The exercise’s bilateral engagements focused on noncombatant evacuation operations; amphibious assaults; helicopter-borne raids; visit, board, search and seizure operations; airstrikes; defense of the amphibious task force; integrated ground-and-air fires; tactical recovery of personnel; ground reconnaissance; medical casualty evacuations; combat marksmanship and quick reaction force and casualty evacuation rehearsals.

Alligator Dagger is the largest regional amphibious exercise to integrate and synchronize TF 51/5's warfighting capabilities with those of adjacent U.S. Naval Forces Special Operations Forces units to ensure they are postured and prepared to execute operations at sea, from the sea and ashore.