US carrier, thousands of troops practice ‘wide range of skills’ in Western Pacific
The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and 15,000 troops are taking part in large-scale military drills on Guam and in the Marianas Islands.
Fifteen surface ships and more than 160 aircraft from the Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps are participating in Valiant Shield, the latest iteration of an exercise that has happened every other year since 2006.
“A wide range of skills will be exercised … any of which U.S. forces may be called upon to conduct during contingency situations,” 7th Fleet spokesman Lt. Joe Keiley told Stars and Stripes in an email Monday. Those include “maritime interdiction; defensive counter-air operations; personnel recovery; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; anti-submarine warfare; and command and control.”
Troops are also learning to work with personnel from other branches and conducting live-fire drills, a 7th Fleet statement said.
“The Marianas Island Range Complex is a premier training environment that allows the joint force a unique opportunity to come together and train side-by-side at the high end,” Rear Adm. Daniel Dwyer, who is directing the drills, said in the statement.
Valiant Shield, which kicked off Sunday, runs until Sept. 23, the statement said.