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ESG 5 Begins Joint Task Force Exercise

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS041105-10
Release Date: 11/5/2004 3:01:00 PM

From Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 5, led by Rear Adm. Christopher C. Ames, is participating in a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) off the coast of Southern California, which runs through Nov. 15.

The exercise is being led by USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the command ship for ESG 5. Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and various types of Navy and Marine fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft are also participating.

During this 'graduate-level' exercise, more than 6,000 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen work together to improve their operational skill sets in preparation for their deployment. Upon successful completion of the exercise, U.S. 3rd Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Michael McCabe will certify ESG 5 "ready for deployment." The strike group is scheduled to deploy in the coming months.

"One of our key missions in 3rd Fleet is to provide our strike groups with world-class training to ensure that, if required, they operate decisively in combat," said McCabe. "We challenge strike groups to anticipate and prioritize every potential threat while operating in a joint environment.

"They're demonstrating their ability to pinpoint a specific threat using sophisticated intelligence tools, then to fight into the area and swiftly defeat that threat," said Ames.

In addition to the training conducted at sea, 15th MEU Marines are also completing final qualifications for a special operations capable certification during the exercise.

"This exercise is the MEU's training event and evaluation before we'll be ready to deploy," said Commander, 15th MEU, Marine Col. T.C. Greenwood. "I'm proud of every one of these Marines and Sailors. There's no doubt in my mind that we are ready to complete this certification, and be greater prepared to execute upon our arrival overseas."

The underway exercise presents a demanding test of the strike group's techniques, tactics and procedures to help ensure the Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen are ready for any mission.

"This exercise is strengthening strike group assets at the individual unit level while helping those units form into a cohesive team, ready to work together to quickly and effectively challenge threats to our nation's security around the world," said Ames. "The expeditionary strike group concept is still relatively new, yet it's becoming increasingly clear this type of multi-functional organization is an ideal weapon to take to the fight in the global war on terrorism."

Participating in JTFEX are USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), USS Duluth (LPD 6), USS Milius (DDG 69), USCGC Munro (WHEC 724), USS Pasadena (SSN 752), USS Helena (SSN 725) and USS Thach (FFG 43). The strike group is training with the Canadian destroyer HMCS Algonquin (DDG 283), two Canadian frigates, HMCS Winnipeg (FFG 338) and HMCS Regina (FFH 334), and the Canadian replenishment ship HMCS Protecteur (AOR 509). The Canadian ships are supported by two detachments of CH-124 Sea King helicopters, Canadian CF-18s and a Canadian CP-140, a multimission reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft.

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