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Marines, sailors hit sea and land in Alligator Dagger exercise

By SCOTT WYLAND | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 11, 2017

Amphibious units roared across sea and land in Djibouti for two weeks to train in the type of austere desert setting they’d encounter in Mideast hot spots.

Marines and sailors participated in the third Alligator Dagger exercise, which wraps up Tuesday in the 5th Fleet theater.

Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade led the exercise, which combined simulated amphibious assaults, tactical maneuvers on land and air support to sharpen teamwork and combat skills.

The newly commissioned USS Lewis B. Puller, a mobile sea base, was among the ships that launched amphibious vessels. The ship was named after Lt. Gen. Lewis “Chesty” Puller, whose five Navy Crosses and Distinguished Service Cross make him the most decorated Marine in history.

Other amphibious assault ships used were USS America, USS Pearl Harbor and USS San Diego. It’s the first time the unit practiced crisis response and combat missions in this region, Marine officials said.

wyland.scott@stripes.com

Twitter: @wylandstripes

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Marines' combat vehicles kick up dust clouds as they roar through the Arta region of Djibouti on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, for Alligator Dagger. Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade led the combined Navy and Marine exercise to test and improve operations on sea and shore.
NICHOLAS BYERS/U.S. AIR FORCE

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