U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Forces Come Together for Valiant Shield 2020
(Source: U.S. Pacific Fleet; issued Sept. 11, 2020)
US naval and air forces take part in exercise Valiant Shield, held in parallel with exercise Pacific Vanguard with four allied navies, are a show of force to underline US and allied military capabilities in the Indo-Pacific. (US Navy photo)
U.S. Indo-Pacific Command forces are participating in exercise Valiant Shield (VS), Sept. 14-25, on Guam and around the Mariana Islands Range Complex.

Participants include USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS America (LHA 6), USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Germantown (LSD 42) and multiple surface ships -- approximately 100 aircraft and an estimated 11,000 personnel from the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps.

Valiant Shield focuses on integration of training in a blue-water environment. This training enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking, and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land, and cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas.

“Exercises such as Valiant Shield allow U.S. forces the opportunity to integrate warfighting concepts such as all-domain strike group operations in a joint high end warfare training environment to continuously improve joint lethality,” said Rear Adm. Michael Boyle, director maritime operations, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “It is vitally important that we demonstrate to our allies and partners our strong commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The participating forces will exercise a wide range of warfighting capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility and capability of U.S. naval fleet operations and integration of joint forces. The range of capabilities include maritime security operations, anti-submarine and air-defense exercises, amphibious operations, and other elements of complex warfighting.

In coordination with military medical personnel and public health personnel, every aspect of Valiant Shield 2020 has been analyzed to ensure the appropriate mitigation measures are taken against COVID-19. The planning focused on protecting service members and their families; preventing the spread of the virus to U.S. forces, local residents, allies, or partners; and ensuring warfighting readiness in order to accomplish assigned missions.

The lessons learned from exercises like Valiant Shield assists U.S. forces in developing regional and global power projection capabilities by integrating warfighting concepts that provide a full range of options to succeed in defense of U.S. interests and those of its allies and partners around the world.

Valiant Shield is a series of military exercises that promote integration among joint forces. Each successive exercise builds on lessons learned from the previous training to enhance complementary capabilities and develop new tactics, techniques, and procedures. This training will provide the deterrence and stabilizing effects of a force-in-being, ready at the outset of a contingency, without the need for force buildup or extensive mission rehearsal.

This is the eighth exercise in the Valiant Shield series that began in 2006.

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U.S., Allied Forces Conduct Exercise Pacific Vanguard
(Source: US Navy; issued Sept 11, 2020)
"Participation in Pacific Vanguard provides realistic, relevant training that fosters each nation's abilities to plan, communicate and conduct complex maritime operations together, at sea," said Cmdr. Christopher A. Gahl, commanding officer, USS Barry. "The United States, along with allies and partners, is committed to preserving stability and freedom of access to the global commons."

During the exercise, forces will combine to practice a wide range of naval competencies, including combined maneuvers, surface warfare, live fire exercises, anti-submarine warfare, and replenishment at sea.

Representing the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force are destroyers JS Ashigara (DDG 178) and JS Ise (DDH 182).

“It is truly invaluable that the navies of four countries get together again in Guam to participate in Pacific Vanguard under the difficult time we all face with COVID-19,” said Vice Adm. Yuasa Hideki, Commander-in-Chief, Self Defense Fleet, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. “I strongly believe that our enhanced cooperation will certainly contribute to peace and stability in the Western Pacific as well as furthering our partnership."

Representing Australia are the Anzac-class frigates HMAS Arunta (FFH 151) and HMAS Stuart (FFH 153).

Commander of the Australian Maritime Task Group, Capt. Phillipa Hay, said Exercise Pacific Vanguard will enhance interoperability between key regional defense partners.

"Exercise Pacific Vanguard provides a significant opportunity to work with regional partners on complex warfighting skills within a task group," Capt. Hay said. "The exercise will strengthen an already strong alliance between the Australian, Japanese, South Korean and United States navies, increasing our ability to contribute to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific."

The Republic of Korea Navy sent destroyers ROKS Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin (DDH 975) and ROKS Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong (DDG 993).

"I look forward to seeing the enhancement of combined operational capabilities through Pacific Vanguard," said Capt. Kim Sung Hwan, Commodore, Maritime Task Squadron 71 of the Republic of Korea Navy. "It will serve as an opportunity to strengthen joint response capabilities for various security situations by building up the friendship and coordination system between participating nations."

Representing U.S. are Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52), a submarine, fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Erickson (T-AO 194) and aircraft from Patrol Squadron One (VP 1) “Screaming Eagles”.

U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.

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