SEPTEMBER 22, 2016, GUAM (NNS) – Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 staff disembarked amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), Sept. 21, following completion of their duties during exercise Valiant Shield 2016.
DESRON 7 staff served as the sea combat commander (SCC) for Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7 and was responsible for overseeing movements of all ESG ships, coordinating surface fire support, utilizing air assets for search and surveillance, and coordinating anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare operations.
“Valiant Shield was an excellent opportunity for our staff to plan, train, and operate in a complex maritime environment,” said Capt. Lex Walker, deputy commodore, DESRON 7. “Our primary responsibility was to defend the ESG, and we were able to do this successfully by effectively communicating and coordinating with a multitude of assets and across warfare commanders.”
Valiant Shield is a U.S.-only, biennial field training exercise (FTX) with a focus on integration of joint training in a blue-water environment among U.S. forces. 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 in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas.
The Valiant Shield series is aimed at developing a pre-integrated, joint force built from habitual relationships. This force builds interoperable and complementary cross-domain capabilities and benefits from realistic, shared training enhancing the flexibility to develop new tactics, techniques and procedures as operational conditions dictate. Such forces will provide the deterrence and stabilizing effects of a force-in-being, ready at the outset of a contingency without delays for build-ups or extensive mission rehearsal.
ESG 7’s composition during Valiant Shield consisted of Bonhomme Richard, amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20), amphibious dock landing ships USS Germantown (LSD 42), guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25, and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
In addition to ESG 7, participants in Valiant Shield 2016 included aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), nine surface ships, more than 18,000 personnel and more than 180 aircraft from the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.