Exercise Mediterranean Shark is a bilateral training exercise conducted in Morocco by a U.S. Marine Expeditionary Unit MEU/SOC (Special Operations Capable), to show the effectiveness of the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF).
Med Shark 2001
Mediterranean Shark '01, a bilateral training exercise conducted in Morocco during May 2001 by the 24th MEU (SOC), offered recent proof of the effectiveness of the MAGTF organizing principle. In simple terms, MAGTFs allow commands to task organize surface and air assets for use in meeting specific ends.
Mediterranean Shark was especially significant because it was conducted while the MEU was in a split-Amphibious Ready Group configuration. The bulk of MSSG-24 is embarked on USS Ponce, which traveled to Morocco by itself to participate in the exercise. The ship separated from USS Kearsarge and USS Carter Hall after arriving in Spain upon the completion of its trans-Atlantic voyage. MSSG-24 Marines, normally tasked with providing combat service support for the entire MEU, performed both those and command and control functions during the exercise.
Mediterranean Shark consisted of a company-sized surface assault conducted by Co. "G", Battalion Landing Team 2/8. This was supported by the helicopter insertion of a Moroccan Royal Naval Infantry company. A detachment of CH-46 and UH-1N helicopters from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 (Reinforced) provided the aircraft for the evolution. Rounding out the major events of the exercise was the establishment of a beach support area. The training area terrain consisted mostly of flat coastline abutted by arid foothills carved by deep ravines and gorges. The weather was mostly clear during the evolution, though clouds and light rain did appear.
Med Shark 2002
Med Shark 2002 began on September 23, 2002 and participating US units included the George Washington Battle Group and its carrier wing which conducted the exercises with the Moroccan Air Force. As of late September there was not any indication of how long the exercise would last nor whether or not a MEU would actually participate as the only MEU in the region, the 24th MEU was participating in exercises in Kosovo.
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