SAN DIEGO – The aircraft carrier George Washington and 18 ships and submarines and more than 14,000 service members will mass in Southeast Asia this month for a joint training exercise with Marine Corps and Air Force units focused on maritime security operations, Navy officials said Wednesday.
The exercise, dubbed “Valiant Shield 2010,” runs Sept. 12-21 and will involve a Navy carrier strike group, an Air Force expeditionary wing and a Marine Corps task force, U.S. Pacific Fleet officials said in an announcement.
Valiant Shield was previously held in 2006 and in 2007, when three aircraft carriers participated in each of those exercises. This year’s war games will be slightly smaller, with one carrier strike group joining in the training that begins near the island of Palau in the southern Philippine Sea and continues with a scenario crafted around an opposed transit of ships headed to Guam, about 800 miles northeast in the Mariana Islands.
The joint exercise “enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces’ ability to detect, locate, track and engage units at sea, in the air, on land and in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas,” according to the announcement.
The forces will practice maritime interdiction operations, defensive counter air missions, antisubmarine warfare, personnel recovery, command and control, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, said Ensign Joe Painter, a fleet spokesman.
The Yokosuka, Japan-based George Washington will lead a carrier strike group and amphibious ready group comprised of ships and submarines stationed in Japan, Hawaii and Guam. These include: Amphibious assault ship Essex; dock landing ship Harpers Ferry; cruiser Cowpens; destroyers John S. McCain, Fitzgerald, Stethem, Lassen, McCampbell and Chung Hoon; frigate Vandegrift; minesweepers Avenger and Defender; fast attack submarines City of Corpus Christi, Tucson, Greenville and Hawaii; ocean surveillance ship Able; and replenishment oiler John Ericsson.
Naval aviation units will include F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets, E-2C Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning Aircraft, EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft, HH-60 Seahawk helicopters; P-3C Orion maritime patrol and antisubmarine warfare aircraft; and EP-3 Aries electronic warfare and reconnaissance aircraft.
Marine Corps participants include the Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Marine Aircraft Group 12, which is based in Iwakuni, Japan. Marine F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets, AV-8B Harrier attack jets and KC-130 aerial tankers will join in the training exercise.
Hawaii-based 13th Air Force will oversee air operations from the 613th Air and Space Operations Center at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Painter said. Air Force units joining in Valiant Shield will include B-52 bombers, F-15C/D and F-16C fighter jets, F-22 strike fighters, KC-135 aerial tankers and E-3 Airborne Warning and Control aircraft.