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NEWS | June 11, 2023

USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) arrives in Agadir, Morocco

By Lt. j.g. Benjamin Cusimano

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) arrived in Agadir, Morocco for a scheduled port visit, June 10, 2023.

The visit, held in support of exercise African Lion 2023, will include a ship tour for leaders and representatives of U.S Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) and the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces. Arleigh Burke will also partake in a Maritime Exercise Key Leader Engagement (MTX KLE), critical in strengthening U.S. and Moroccan Armed Forces’ relations, supporting NAVAF readiness goals, and building interoperability with Morocco.

“It is an honor to visit Agadir,” said Cmdr. Pete Flynn, commanding officer of USS Arleigh Burke. “Our partnership with Morocco provides the U.S. Navy with a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate our shared commitment to a secure, stable, and prosperous Africa.”

After this port visit, Arleigh Burke and its crew will join approximately 8,000 participants from 18 nations in the ongoing exercise African Lion 23, U.S. Africa Command’s largest annual, combined, joint exercise. In addition to U.S. forces, participants include allies and African partners from Morocco, Djibouti, Ghana, Senegal, and Tunisia.

African Lion provides a critical opportunity for members of the joint team to build and test their strategic readiness to deploy, fight and win in a complex, multi-domain environment. The maritime portion of the exercise, led by NAVAF, includes maritime interdiction operations, air defense exercises, anti-submarine warfare exercises, and naval gunfire exercises.

The exercise underscores the United States’ approach in Africa as partner-led and U.S. enabled. Participation in multinational exercises like African Lion has a lasting and sustained impact on regional security while also enhancing Allies and partners’ abilities to operate together in pursuit of common goals.

"African Lion will again show the true grit and resilience this crew has displayed throughout our third patrol,” said Arleigh Burke’s Command Master Chief (CMDCM) Rafael Barney. “Just like our namesake, Admiral Arleigh Burke, once said, ‘This ship is built to fight,’ and we cannot wait to put our commitment to African security on full display for our African partners.”

Arleigh Burke is on its third patrol in the NAVEUR-NAVAF area of operations as a member of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E). The ship began patrol on Feb. 2, 2023, departing from its homeport of Naval Station Rota, Spain, and has operated in the Baltic Sea, North Sea, Arctic Circle, Eastern Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Red Sea.

FDNF-E destroyers routinely operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, demonstrating their mastery of the maritime domain. Arleigh Burke is one of four U.S. Navy destroyers based at Naval Station Rota, Spain, and assigned to Commander, Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture.

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with our allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.