EARTHQUAKES

Utah National Guard in Morocco for training exercise, ‘ready’ to assist Moroccan allies

Sep 10, 2023, 7:00 AM | Updated: Oct 18, 2023, 2:19 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah National Guards are in Morocco and ready “to respond if needed” after a deadly earthquake that took place late Friday, according to ranking officials.

The 6.8 magnitude earthquake near Marrakech has left more than 2,000 people dead and another 2,000 injured.

Troops were scheduled to participate in a training for two weeks in Tangier. About 20 troops were already in Morocco ahead of the earthquake. No National Guard troops were injured when the earthquake happened.

Forty more are expected to arrive on Sunday, despite initial reports that troops were heading there to assist after a post from Gov. Spencer Cox.

Gov. Cox posted on X, “Utah stands ready to help through our strong military ties with the Kingdom.”

“The Utah National Guard and the Kingdom of Morocco or the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces have been partners for the last 20 years, in part of what the Department of Defense calls a State Partnership Program,” said Lt. Col. Chris Kroeber, spokesperson for the Utah National Guard.

Kroeber said every year, troops participate in a disaster response exercise called the Moroc Mantlet. By coincidence, this year’s exercise is an “earthquake, scenario-driven exercise.”

“These are our partners over the last 20 years, and we have a special connection with the Kingdom of Morocco,” Kroeber said. “We as citizens of Utah, I think, share very similar values, as far as family and community orientation goes with, with the people of Morocco, in our hearts just go out to them in this challenging time.

Utah’s troops have not received specific orders to assist with disaster relief.

“We’ll be there, will be prepared, will be staged and ready, and participating in an exercise unless we’re diverted other ways,” Kroeber said.

You can check the website to learn more about the State Partnership Program with Morocco.

Utah Army National Guard and Moroccan military personnel work together learning different structural and swift-water rope techniques for rescue scenarios April 15-16 during Maghreb-Mantelet 2015 in Lamjaara, Morocco as part of the State Partnership Program between Morocco and the Utah National Guard. (Utah National Guard) Members of the Search and Rescue Unit (USS) of the Royal Armed Forces of Morocco, and the Moroccan Civil Protection Service work with members of Utah National Guard’s Homeland Response Force, representatives from Salt Lake and Park City area fire departments train to rescue a victim during wide-water training during Maghreb-Mantelet 2016 as part of the State Partnership Program between Morocco and the Utah National Guard in Lamjaara, Morocco, March 14-25, 2016. (Utah National Guard) Brig. Gen. Dallen Atack, (center), assistant adjutant general, Utah National Guard, observes members of 97th Troop Command, Morocco’s national disaster-response engineer element Unit de Secours et de Sauvetage (USS), or Search and Rescue Unit training during a disaster-response exercise in Kenitra, Morocco, March 27-April 8, 2017. (Utah National Guard) Members of the Utah National Guard, 97th Troop Command, and Utah Task Force 1 work with their Moroccan counterparts with Morocco’s national disaster-response engineer element Unit de Secours et de Sauvetage (USS), or Search and Rescue Unit training during a disaster-response exercise in Kenitra, Morocco, March 27-April 8, 2017. (Utah National Guard)

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Utah National Guard in Morocco for training exercise, ‘ready’ to assist Moroccan allies