U.S. Pacific Fleet conducts Valiant Shield exercise

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Sept. 19 (UPI) — U.S. military forces from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command are participating in the exercise Valiant Shield 2018 Sept. 16-23 near the Marianas islands and Guam.

Units involved include the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, 15 surface ships, over 160 aircraft and around 15,000 personnel from the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps.

“We are excited to be here for exercise Valiant Shield as Guam gives us a world-class joint-training opportunity,” Rear Adm. Daniel Dwyer, who is directing the exercise, said in a press release.

“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,” according to Dwyer.

Valiant Shield is a U.S. biennial training exercise focused on joint operations by the different services. During Valiant Shield 2018, exercises include maritime security operations, interdiction, intelligence, anti-submarine tactics and air-defense training.

The exercise was meant to include the Marine Corps vertical take-off and landing F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter operating off the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp, but the ship is currently conducting relief operations for Typhoon Mangkhut. Some of the aircraft were launched from Guam to participate on Sep. 18.

Valiant Shield has been performed biennially since 2006. This year includes guided-missile destroyers and cruisers, two squadrons of P-8A Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft, cargo ships and other assets.

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