[Lock your doors!] About 6,500 military service members are expected on island for shore leave as several U.S. Navy ships make their way to port following the Valiant Shield 2016 exercises.
The biennial event concluded yesterday, marking an end to two weeks of collaborative exercises between U.S. military forces. One scenario highlighted by military officials was the live-fire sink exercise, in which sailors, airmen and Marines sank the decommissioned USS Rentz about 220 nautical miles northeast of Guam.
“This exercise provided an important opportunity for realistic at-sea training with live ordnance, in a blue-water environment,” U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Brian Hurley, the U.S. Pacific Fleet Valiant Shield exercise lead, stated in a release. “This event refined our ability to work together seamlessly as a joint force to achieve a very specific training objective.”
During the exercises, military members also displayed bomb guidance capabilities and engaged in a mechanized raid on Naval Base Guam Reserve Craft Beach – the first amphibious assault during a Valiant Shield exercise. About 18,000 military personnel convened on Guam and in the waters around the island to take part in the exercise.
This year's exercise included participation by the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, USS Bonhomme Richard amphibious readiness group comprising the Bonhomme Richard, USS Green Bay and USS Germantown, seven other surface ships, more than 180 aircraft and an estimated 22,000 personnel from the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
Environmental stewardship was a top priority for military officials, according to the release.
"The U.S. Navy environmental coordinators cancelled a Navy and Marine Corps beach landing scheduled for Sept. 19 on the island of Tinian. The sailors and Marines were to land at Chulu Beach on the northwest side of Tinian, less than one kilometer from North Field, but cancelled the landing due to the discovery of an endangered turtle species nesting," it stated.
“In Valiant Shield 2016, having the soldier, the airman, the Marine and the sailor work together to bring a better fighting force is amazing,” Hurley stated. “And that rapport will go for many years for all our young sailors, Marines, airmen and soldiers into the future.”
Valiant Shield 2016 marked the 10-year anniversary of the exercise.