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A crew prepares equipment for a CH-53 Super Stallion to airlift from the USS San Diego on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in the Indian Ocean during 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.

A crew prepares equipment for a CH-53 Super Stallion to airlift from the USS San Diego on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in the Indian Ocean during 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. (Jeremy Laboy/U.S. Marine Corps)

A crew prepares equipment for a CH-53 Super Stallion to airlift from the USS San Diego on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in the Indian Ocean during 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.

A crew prepares equipment for a CH-53 Super Stallion to airlift from the USS San Diego on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in the Indian Ocean during 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. (Jeremy Laboy/U.S. Marine Corps)

An amphibious vessel zooms past sailors as they lift an inflatable boat aboard the USS Pearl Harbor on Sept. 4, 2017, in the Gulf of Aden during 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.

An amphibious vessel zooms past sailors as they lift an inflatable boat aboard the USS Pearl Harbor on Sept. 4, 2017, in the Gulf of Aden during 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. (Kris Rodriguez/U.S. Navy)

Sailors on the USS Pearl Harbor recover a rigid-hull inflatable boat used in amphibious operations in the Indian Ocean on Sept. 4, 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.

Sailors on the USS Pearl Harbor recover a rigid-hull inflatable boat used in amphibious operations in the Indian Ocean on Sept. 4, 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. (Kris Rodriguez/U.S. Navy)

A landing craft  prepares to enter the well deck of the USS Pearl Harbor on Sept. 4, 2017, in the Gulf of Aden while conducting amphibious operations 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.

A landing craft prepares to enter the well deck of the USS Pearl Harbor on Sept. 4, 2017, in the Gulf of Aden while conducting amphibious operations 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. (Ensign Kris Rodriguez/U.S. Navy)

Mules wander in front of U.S. Marines as they strategically position themselves during a beach-landing drill near Djibouti on Sept. 5, 2017, for the Alligator Dagger exercise. Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade led the combined Navy and Marine exercise to test and improve operations on sea and shore.

Mules wander in front of U.S. Marines as they strategically position themselves during a beach-landing drill near Djibouti on Sept. 5, 2017, for the Alligator Dagger exercise. Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade led the combined Navy and Marine exercise to test and improve operations on sea and shore. (Joe Harwood/Air National Guard)

A Marine practices ground maneuvers in rugged terrain on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in the Arta region of Djbouti 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.

A Marine practices ground maneuvers in rugged terrain on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in the Arta region of Djbouti 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)

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.

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)

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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