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By U.S. Naval Forces Africa Public Affairs
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) wrapped up participation in the bilateral exercise Atlas Handshake with the Royal Moroccan Navy, Aug. 27, 2023.
The exercise, which kicked off Aug. 25, entailed a bilateral naval surface fire support training evolution between Paul Ignatius and Royal Moroccan Navy Sigma-class frigate Sultan Moulay Ismael at Morocco’s Tan-Tan Range.
“The opportunity to work alongside our Moroccan partners is key to improving our tactical readiness and responsiveness in today’s dynamic security environment,” said Cmdr. Corry Lougee, commanding officer, USS Paul Ignatius. “Exercises like Atlas Handshake demonstrate our collective ability to train and operate in a joint, high-intensity security environment, demonstrating our commitment to regional stability and maritime security.”
Multinational training with allies and partners enhances the level of interoperability between forces. The U.S. and Royal Moroccan Navy are committed to working together to promote a secure and peaceful region, and exercise like Atlas Handshake bolster their combined capabilities.
“The most important objective of this exercise is the development of joint operations between our naval units, as they carried out together a series of maritime activities off the coast, between Agadir and Tan-Tan,” said Capitaine de Vaisseau El Ghazi Aberghaz, commander of frigate Sultan Moulay Ismail. “This exercise constitutes an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences with our American colleagues, thus increasing our readiness to effectively address the growing challenges facing the maritime field.”
Atlas Handshake 23-1 is a bilateral naval exercise sponsored by the U.S. and Moroccan navies aimed at strengthening and enhancing the combat readiness of participating forces in maritime operations and security.
Paul Ignatius, forward deployed to Rota, Spain, is on its ## patrol in the U.S. 6th fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
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.
U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.