EILAT, Israel — The US and Israel are marking a jam-packed week of military-to-military cooperation that cuts across all services and command echelons, from America's top-ranked officer – USMC Gen. Joseph Dunford – to members of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), who are winding up a five-month deployment with rest and relaxation here in this Red Sea resort town.
While Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, began meetings in Tel Aviv Sunday with his Israeli counterpart, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, dozens of US Air Force personnel joined the Israel Air Force in launching Blue Flag, a two-week multinational exercise at Israel's Uvda Air Base in the Arava desert.
Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon met with USMC Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Oct. 18, 2015.
Photo Credit: Israel Ministry of Defence
The Anchorage set sail in May from its home port of San Diego for training in the Pacific before its ARG deployment in the Persian Gulf and Africa.
Interviewed Sunday at a beachside bistro here, a group of Marines from 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 15th MEU said they had just come from 30-days of joint training in Djibouti with the French 5th Overseas Combined Arms Regiment.
The ship is scheduled to leave Eilat on Monday for Guam before finally returning home to San Diego.
Opall-Rome is Israel bureau chief for Defense News. She has been covering U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation, Mideast security and missile defense since May 1988. She lives north of Tel Aviv. Visit her website at www.opall-rome.com.