ABOARD USS ENTERPRISE, At sea (NNS) -- USS Enterprise (CVN 65) teamed up again with allied forces from France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom for MEDSHARK/ Majestic Eagle '04 (MS/ME04) July 11 off the coast of Morocco as part of the carrier's Summer Pulse '04 deployment.
Hosted by Morocco, MS/ME04 seeks to develop interoperability and build military relationships between the ten allied nations involved.
MS/ME04 is the final of three multinational exercises Enterprise has participated in along with its allies. "We completed Neo Tapon, which was like a warm-up exercise," said Intelligence Officer Cmdr. Daniel Driscoll. "Then we did the Joint Maritime Course (JMC) which was like the classroom exercise. Now we are about to finish the final exercise, Majestic Eagle, which could be compared to a field exercise. This one will be more difficult and complex than the other two."
MS/ME04 is directed by Strike Force NATO based in Naples, Italy, and involves more than 20,000 personnel and 30 different ships and submarines. Greek military officials will observe the exercise.
"Majestic Eagle is a NATO-run exercise in which we will work with naval ships at sea and perform strike warfare at a weapons range in Morocco," said Enterprise acting Operations Officer Cmdr. Robin Myers. "Morocco has agreed to let us use the weapons range to drop ordnance during various training scenarios."
Enterprise and NATO participants will be the first to use this weapons range during MS/ME04. This is significant not only because the host nation Morocco is not a member of NATO, but also because it has the potential to provide the future training opportunities for deployed ships.
"This is an important exercise for us," said Myers. "If we do well in this exercise we could very well be invited to come back. This will provide increased strike warfare training for ships deployed or transiting in the 6th Fleet area of operations."
During MS/ME04, Enterprise will participate in two major scenarios.
"USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) will provide real opposition for Enterprise during one of the training scenarios by attempting to disrupt our operations and we will perform strike warfare at the weapons range in Morocco," said Myers. "And the second scenario will be a simulated choke point transit through a strait."
Enterprise Sailors have put in a lot of work preparing for MS/ME04. "I work with a team of four or five Sailors to consolidate all the information given to us by our battle analysis," said Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Scott Rieger, temporarily assigned from Strike Fighter Squadron (VF) 211 to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 Intelligence Department's Strike Intelligence Analysis Center. "It is important that we gather all this information so that we can plan operations for Majestic Eagle. This allows all the ships involved in the exercise to be on the same page."
"I think Majestic Eagle is going to be a really great exercise," said Intelligence Specialist 1st Class (AW) David Stanton, CVW-1 Intelligence leading petty officer. "It will demonstrate the new way that the Navy will be doing things in the future. Operations used to be platform-based; now it is changing to capability-based."
As part of the Fleet Response Plan (FRP), MS/ME04 is yet another exercise that tests the ability of Navy ships to quickly move from one problem to the next in a wartime environment.
"The FRP forces us to be more effective," said Driscoll. "The world environment has changed a lot in the last few years. We used to focus our attention on certain countries that posed threats to the U.S. Now we are dealing with terrorists that could be anywhere at any time. This type of climate definitely forces us to move quickly at any given moment and also shows the rest of world that we are capable of doing so."
MS/ME04 is slated to end July 16 as Enterprise's role in Summer Pulse '04 comes to a close. Enterprise left its homeport of Norfolk, Va., June 3.
Summer Pulse '04 is the simultaneous deployment of seven aircraft carrier strike groups (CSGs), demonstrating the ability of the Navy to provide credible combat power across the globe, in five theaters, with other U.S., allied, and coalition military forces. Summer Pulse is the Navy's first deployment under its new Fleet Response Plan (FRP).
For more information about Summer Pulse '04, visit the CFFC Web site at www.cffc.navy.mil/summerpulse04.htm or visit the Summer Pulse '04 Navy NewsStand site at www.news.navy.mil/local/pulse04.
For related news, visit the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn65.