U.S. military forces have started the 2018 iteration of the biennial Valiant Shield field training exercise held around the Marianas Island Range Complex and on Guam this week.
The service features integration of joint training for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. The exercise includes 15 surface ships like the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76); the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG-54) and USS Chancellorsville (CG-62); Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Benfold (DDG-65), USS Milius (DDG-69), and USS Shoup (DDG-86); Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Caesar Chavez (T-AKE-14); and Maritime prepositioning ship USNS 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo (T-AK-3008).
The exercise also includes 15,000 personnel and over 160 aircraft including Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules tankers and MV-22 Ospreys; Air Force KC-135s and B-52 Stratofortresses; Navy P-3C Orions, Poseidon P-8s, MH-60S Knighthawks, and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets; Air Force F-15Cs; and Marine Corps F-35Bs.
This is the seventh Valiant Shield, which began in 2006. It focuses on integration of joint U.S. forces training in a blue-water environment.
Exercise director Rear Adm. Daniel Dwyer said the participants were excited to be in the Guam-Marianas area for the “world-class joint training opportunity.”
“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,” Dwyer added.
According to exercise photo captions, the Shoup has launched Tomahawk cruise missiles while the Milius and Chancellorsville both launched Standard Missile-2s (SM-2s).
During the exercise, the military forces will practice a large range of capabilities including maritime security operations, amphibious operations, anti-submarine and air-defense exercises.