USS CARL VINSON, At Sea –
Ships and aircraft participating in Valiant Shield 2014 conducted large-scale joint antisubmarine warfare training exercises in the Marianas Island Range Complex Sept. 18, contributing to the multiservice cooperative and collaborative focus of the present day exercise execution.
“When Valiant Shield was conceived in 2006, it was predominately a high-end antisubmarine warfare (ASW) threat environment,” said Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Chapman, DESRON 15 Valiant Shield 2014 lead planner. “Although it has evolved over time into a very complex joint exercise, ASW has always been a key component and that remains true this year.”
Pacific Command units participating in the exercise include Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17; CSG 5 aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) with embarked CVW 5; Military Sealift Command logistics ships from Commander, Task Force (CTF) 73; and units from Commander, Task Force 72 and 74. The two carrier strike groups are joined by 19 surface ships and more than 100 additional U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps aircraft.
The Valiant Shield ASW training was beneficial to the surface ships because it provided the opportunity to hunt live submarines in a complex joint environment, said Chapman, delivering a more realistic training.
Similar to previous training events such as composite training unit exercises, deployable group systems integration testing, and joint task force exercises, Valiant Shield is designed to test every warfare area and enhance the strike group's ability to operate in simulated hostile and dynamic environments.
“We are trying to deter any submarines from getting close to the carrier,” said Lt. Joseph Lucido, submarines operations officer for Commander, Destroyer Squadron 1 aboard Carl Vinson. “We do that by coordinating air and surface support. We rely heavily on our strike group to provide close in support.” Commander, Destroyer Squadron 1 is embarked aboard USS Carl Vinson and is deployed as part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group.
Lucido added that the exercise ensures that staffs and ships of the carrier strike group are familiar with integrated command and control.
“Getting to exercise the process of command and control is vital,” said Lucido. “From the newest seaman to the admiral; they all play a role in successfully locating and targeting enemy vessels.”
The ability to operate decisively as a joint force allows the U.S. to develop regional and global power projection capabilities that provide a full range of options to succeed in defense of its interests.
“First and foremost the carrier strike group is about presence, which gives both assurance to our partners and allies and deterrence to any adversary action,” said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Task Force 70, under which both Carl Vinson and George Washington strike groups are operating.
“Multiservice cooperation and collaboration enhances regional security, stability and prosperity,” said Montgomery. “Exercise Valiant Shield combines a series of vignettes to test our operational and tactical capabilities against high-end adversaries along with operations that allow us to asses and improve interoperability between joint forces.”
Valiant Shield is a U.S.-only exercise integrating an estimated 18,000 Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps personnel, more than 200 aircraft and 19 surface ships, offering real-world joint operational experience to develop capabilities that provide a full range of options to defend U.S. interests and those of its allies and partners.