All members of Utah National Guard in Morocco are safe following earthquake

Sep 11, 2023, 7:00 PM

Utah Army National Guard and Moroccan military personnel work together learning different structura...

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)

(Utah National Guard)

SALT LAKE CITY — A 6.8-magnitude earthquake occurred in Morocco over the weekend. It has killed nearly 2,500 people and injured an additional 2,500 individuals. 

The quake occurred about the same time members of the Utah National Guard were arriving in the country for a training exercise. 

Lt. Col. Marie Roberts, deputy commander for Utah’s Region 8 Homeland Response Force with the Utah National Guard, is among several members of the Utah National Guard who are in Morocco on the training mission. She joins KSL NewsRadio to discuss why Utah troops are in Morocco. 


She says the troops were already scheduled to be in Morocco for an all-hazards training event. This includes scenarios including search and extraction. It also includes swift water rescuing and decontamination. 

She is asked about the connection or the relationship with Morocco.

“There is a state partnership program where each of our states are connected with other countries,” Roberts said. “And Morocco happens to be ours.”

Utah National Guard troops in Morocco not near earthquake

Roberts says the Utah National Guard troops aren’t anywhere near where the earthquake occurred.

“We’re actually six hours north of the epicenter of the earthquake,” she said. “Just a little bit north of the capital in Rabat. So, we’re all safe here and preparing for this exercise.”

Roberts says she doesn’t expect the Utah troops will be called on to assist in recovery efforts.

“So no, right now, our focus is on this exercise,” she said. “We have all the confidence in our Moroccan partners, and how they’re handling this and their ability to respond to this tragic event.”

Morocco is located on the tip of North Africa. 

Listen to Dave & Dujanovic on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

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

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All members of Utah National Guard in Morocco are safe following earthquake