USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) (HST) joined forces with nine other allied nations July 11 to begin an exercise known as Medshark/Majestic Eagle.
Taking place off the coast of Morocco, approximately 20,000 military members operating aboard more than 20 ships, submarines and in numerous aircraft, will spend the next several days demonstrating combined force capabilities and enhancing the interoperability between the impressive forces of all the participating allies.
“The purpose of the Navy’s Fleet Response Plan is to allow increased flexibility in the fleet. This exercise gives Truman and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 an opportunity to put this concept into action … not just with other U.S. Navy ships, but also with our partners in the global war on terror," said HST Commanding Officer Capt. Michael R. Groothousen. "We will all benefit from this familiarization with new and different training areas, operations and situations."
This training is particularly relevant now that numerous nations have joined forces to fight the common enemy of terrorism. The exercise is being conducted under NATO command, and the participants will gain familiarity with NATO procedures and greater understanding of each other’s capabilities.
As the culmination of the Navy’s Summer Pulse '04, HST is joined by USS Enterprise (CVN 65), six other U.S. Navy surface ships, three submarines and two maritime patrol P-3 Orion aircraft. These ships and aircraft will be training with forces from Morocco, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
“In this exercise, allied nations will work side-by-side in a realistic and challenging training environment. This is a rare opportunity for a coalition of maritime forces to refine the complex skills necessary to prepare for and conduct integrated operations with multiple aircraft carriers and other vessels,” said Vice Adm. H.G. Ulrich, Commander, Strike Force, NATO, who is commanding all the military forces in the exercise. “Medshark/Majestic Eagle 04 will truly demonstrate the collective powers and versatility of our combined NATO maritime forces."
As host nation for the exercise, Morocco has provided impressive support. In addition to two frigates and nearly 20 aircraft, it has allowed use of the Cap Draa training area in the southwest part of the country in order to conduct live fire training exercises. While Morocco is not a member of NATO, President George W. Bush recently granted the country Major Non-NATO Ally status. This gives Morocco the closest military-to-military relationship with the United States possible outside of the NATO alliance.
While exercise leaders insist Medshark/Majestic Eagle is not directly related to any specific threat or in preparation for any imminent real-world military action, it is designed to build upon the skills that are essential to fighting the global war on terrorism. As one of two U.S. aircraft carriers participating, HST will provide a significant portion of the naval power demonstration.
“The interaction of the two U.S. carriers and the European carriers will demonstrate the magnitude of European and U.S. maritime forces working together to quickly integrate in a highly intensive campaign at sea,” said Rear Adm. Robin Boissier of the Royal Navy, who is serving as deputy maritime component commander of Medshark/Majestic Eagle 04.
During the next several days as the Medshark/Majestic Eagle exercise increases in complexity and the fictional threat level rises, the Truman team will surge into action. This exercise will help ensure that when called upon, HST is ready to integrate seamlessly with NATO allies and work toward the global goal of abolishing terrorism.
Summer Pulse 2004 is the simultaneous deployment of seven aircraft strike groups, demonstrating the ability of the Navy to provide credible combat 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.
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 Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75.