George Washington Carrier Strike Group Joins AnnualEx 
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shannon Heavin, Commander, Task Force 70 Public Affairs  
PHILIPPINE SEA - Demonstrating the extraordinary flexibility of a carrier strike group, USS George Washington (CVN 73) kicked off its participation in Annual Exercise (AnnualEx) 13, Nov. 25, just days after completing a humanitarian assistance mission under Operation Damayan in the Philippines.

AnnualEx 13 is designed to increase the defensive readiness and interoperability of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and U.S. naval forces through training in air and sea operations.

The complex exercise, which takes place in waters surrounding Japan, involves units in comprehensive scenarios involving maritime training in the air, surface and subsurface battlespaces in support of the defense of Japan.

AnnualEx allows the United States and Japan to practice and evaluate the coordination, procedures and interoperability elements required to effectively and mutually respond to the defense of Japan or to a regional crisis or contingency situation in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, while building bilateral confidence and working relationships.

AnnualEx 13 strengthens the close, long-standing relationship of U.S. forces and JMSDF. This exercise demonstrates the continuing commitment to deepen strong ties of mutual support and friendship.

U.S. Navy participating units include aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS McCampbell (DDG 85), USS Mustin (DDG 89) and maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and a U.S. submarine.

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