Valient Shield

Valiant Shield to Return to Region
Pacific Daily News
Apr 11, 2007

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — The Navy will send three aircraft carriers to
waters off Guam for large-scale exercises late this summer, the outgoing
U.S. Pacific Fleet commander said Monday.

The Valiant Shield war games will resemble exercises held in the vicinity
of the U.S. territory last June. Those brought together some 28 ships, 280
airplanes and 22,000 troops.

Adm. Gary Roughead, announcing the exercises in an interview with The
Associated Press, said the Navy learned a great deal from last year’s
large-scale exercises and wanted to hold similar drills again to improve
on some of the tactics used.

“It was very important I think to take that information and while
everything was still fresh to say let’s go ahead and do things again,”
Roughead said.

The war games will only involve U.S. troops but will include forces from
different services. The Marine Corps and Air Force participated in last
year’s drills.

Last year’s exercises — the first Valiant Shield — were the largest the
United States has had in the Pacific since the Vietnam War.

The war games underscore the Navy’s boosted presence in the Pacific.

The Navy is moving forward with plans to base a majority of its
nuclear-powered attack submarines in the ocean by 2010. It also intends to
have six out of 11 of its aircraft carriers in the Pacific.

Just last month, the Navy announced plans to base the USS Carl Vinson in
San Diego after it undergoes maintenance in Virginia. The Vinson’s move to
California would bring to six the number of Pacific-based carriers.

The Navy already has two carriers in San Diego, two in Washington state,
and one based in Yokosuka, Japan.

Due to leave
Roughead, who is due to leave Hawaii next month to become the U.S. Fleet
Forces commander in Norfolk, Va., included last year’s Valiant Shield
exercises among the highlights of his accomplishments at the Pacific
Fleet.

He also cited the fleet’s use of its ballistic missile tracking systems to
track North Korea’s launch of missiles last July and his sailors’
humanitarian work with the USNS Mercy as accomplishments.

But Roughead said the sailors deserved the praise.

“It really has been great being out here and being able to watch the men
and women of our Navy go do so many things and to do it really well,”
Roughead said. “The credit goes to the sailors who are out there making it
happen.”

At Fleet Forces Command, Roughead will be responsible for planning how the
Navy trains and equips its sailors in upcoming years. He will also direct
Navy ships in the Atlantic, reporting to the U.S. Northern Command.

Past fleet force commanders include former Pacific Commander Adm. William
J. Fallon who last month took over as the new top U.S. military officer
for the Middle East.

The Pacific Fleet oversees more than 190,000 sailors and Marines and some
30,000 civilians. It also includes more than 190 ships and submarines and
1,400 aircraft.

President Bush has nominated the current vice chief of naval operations,
Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, to succeed Roughead.

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