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Unified Spirit

The Maritime Combined Operations Training (MARCOT)/Unified Spirit 98 exercise period spanned from 1 to 18 June 1998. The exercise geography was overlaid onto the Canadian province of Newfoundland. MCM operations took place in St. George's Bay in preparation for the amphibious assault onto the beaches at Stephenville, Newfoundland. The assault plan consisted of a simultaneous heli-borne and surface assault to seize the landing force objectives. Upon seizure of the landing force objectives, the amphibious task force assaulted Green Beach to seize the port and airfield and to allow introduction of follow-on forces. Both the inner and outer Amphibious Operating Area, the VSW/SZ region, beach and inland areas were mined.

More than 31,000 US military and NATO personnel successfully completed Exercise Unified Spirit 2000 and Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 01-1 Oct. 27, 2000. The combined exercise, which took place in the waters off the US East Coast and in the Caribbean, began Oct. 9 and included the USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) Battle Group, USS NASSAU (LHA 4) Amphibious Ready Group and 14 NATO ships from Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. It was scheduled by the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic, and Commander-in-Chief United States Joint Forces Command, General William F. Kernan and was conducted by Commander, Striking Fleet Atlantic and US Second Fleet Commander, Vice Adm. Michael G. Mullen.

The aim of Unified Spirit, which is held every four years, was to train forces and the Combined Joint Task Force headquarters staff in planning and conducting a NATO-led out-of-area United Nations Charter Chapter VII Peace Support Operation. It was a key element in the NATO four-year CJTF headquarters training cycle.

The Joint Task Force Exercise, usually conducted every five months, was designed to prepare US joint forces for future forward-deployed operations. It also serves as the final certification opportunity for US carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups before deployment.

This was an extremely challenging, but important, exercise. It was the first time we combined both a major NATO exercise and a JTFEX. That was critical, because it led US forces not only to think jointly, but also to think more broadly in terms of how to work with NATO allies. And that's the future of military operations. Also, this exercise proved the validity of the sea-based Combined Joint Task Force concept, which enables a task force commander to lead the entire operation from a mobile and flexible headquarters at sea.

During the exercise, forces were faced with two quickly developing scenarios in two different regions. One was a peace support operation between two fictional former warring nations, and the other involved open hostilities in the fictional states of "Kartuna" and "Korona." Both scenarios stressed the ability to react to high-threat environments requiring air, naval and ground operations. They incorporated surveillance, reconnaissance and other missions, including humanitarian assistance, maritime interdiction, embassy support and a noncombatant evacuation.

Participating units included the following: USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) with CARRIER AIR WING THREE (CVW 3) embarked; USS SAN JACINTO (CG 56); USS ARLEIGH BURKE (DDG 51); USS MITSCHER (DDG 57); USS PORTER (DDG 78); USS STUMP (DD 978); USS DEYO (DD 989); USS CARR (FFG 52); USNS KANAWHA (T-AO 196); USS ALEXANDRIA (SSN 757); USS NORFOLK (SSN 714); the amphibious ships USS NASSAU (LHA 4), USS NASHVILLE (LPD 13), and USS PORTLAND (LSD 37) with the 22nd MARINE EXPEDITIONARY UNIT embarked; USS CHAMPION (MCM 4); USS PIONEER (MCM 9); USS AVENGER (MCM 1); USS OSPREY (MHC 51); USS HERON (MHC 52); USS PELICAN (MHC 53); AND USS FALCON (MHC 53); USS ROSS (DDG 71); USS GUNSTON HALL (LSD 44); USS STOUT (DDG 55); USS NICHOLAS (FFG 47); USS GONZALEZ (DDG 66); USS THORN (DD 988); USS ELROD (FFG 55); USS PETERSON (DD 969); USS HALYBURTON (FFG 40); USS MIAMI (SSN 755); USS MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL (SSN 708); USS SCRANTON (SSN 756); USS ARCTIC (AOE 8); and USNS SIRIUS (AFS 8).

Foreign nation ships included the Canadian warships HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN (part of the Harry S Truman Battle Group), HMCS IROQUOIS, HMCS PRESERVER, HMCS FREDERICTON, HMCS GOOSE BAY, and HMCS MONCTON; the German warships FGS SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN, FGS LEUTJENS, FGS BREMEN, and FGS RHON; and the French warships FS TOURVILLE and FS PRIMAUGUET. The British warships HMS CARDIFF and RFA BLACK ROVER also participated.

This exercise also included elements of the US Army's 35th Infantry Division (Mechanized). It was the first time a National Guard unit has participated in a JTFEX.



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