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Noble Shirley

Exercise Noble Shirley is a live-fire training exercise for U.S. and Israeli troops usually held in the southern Negev Desert region of Israel in July and December, The NOBLE SHIRLEY training exercise in Israel involves Marines, who often practice long-range helicopter raids and mobile assault

The ships of Task Force Sixty One (TF 61) returned home at the end of February 1996 after completing a six-month deployment to the Mediterranean. The three-ship Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), consisting of USS Wasp (LHD 1), USS Shreveport (LPD 12) and USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) conducted operations in the Mediterranean, and served as a ready reserve force off the coast of Bosnia-Herzegovina. During the deployment they also supported NATO Implementation Forces with amphibious assault capabilities. The crew participated in Operations Deny Flight and Joint Endeavor and Exercises Atlas Hinge, Rescue Eagle, Noble Shirley, and Bright Star.

Assault Craft Unit Four, Detachment C supported Task Force 61, an amphibious ready group (ARG) on routine deployment in the Mediterranean during 1996, with their high-performance Air Cushioned Landing Craft (LCAC). During exercises with Tunisia, Egypt and other Mediterranean nations, the LCACs demonstrated their abilities in amphibious warfare. Exercise Noble Shirley, conducted in the eastern Mediterranean, gave Detachment C's three LCACs a chance to off-load a major portion of support equipment for ARG Marine forces in a 10-hour period. The craft scurried back and forth from ARG ships to the beaches -- transporting 29 loads of approximately 1640 tons of equipment.

As of December 10, 1998 there were several thousand Marines exercising in Israel with the Israeli Defense Forces. This NOBLE SHIRLEY exercise ended on December 17th. The exercise involving the Patriots was in conjunction with NOBLE SHIRLEY. While deployed during early 2000, the USS Bataan served as the Strategic Reserve Force for the Balkans while participating in several multi-national exercises including Bright Star, Noble Shirley, and Infinite Moonlight. These exercises focused on developing friendship, trust, and teamwork between coalition nations and increased their combined military readiness for contingency operations.

Two Marine Corps Reserve squadrons launched two KC-130 Hercules and specially trained crews to the central Mediterranean to provide support for the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) for Exercise Dynamic Response 2000. The crews had two more exercises scheduled with the 24th MEU (SOC) in the Mediterranean, Dynamic Mix in May 200 and Noble Shirley in June 2000. The Wasp Amphibious Readiness Group (Wasp ARG) included USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), along with USS Trenton (LPD 14) and the Flagship, USS Wasp (LHD 1). Trenton rejoined the Wasp ARG in Haifa, Israel to participate in exercise "Noble Shirley" from July 5 - 14.

On 23 May 2001, as tension continued in the Middle East, the United States canceled the regularly scheduled Noble Shirley military exercise with Israel, citing "political reasons and military-force protection reasons." The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit on the USS Kearsarge in the Mediterranean Sea was supposed to take part in the Noble Shirley exercise. Reportedly the United States did not want to be seen exercising with the Israeli military while it was using what some regarded as "disproportionate military force" in response to Palestinian provocations.

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