USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- The "Stingers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113, who are celebrating 58 years of being a commissioned fighter squadron this month, will be flying critical air missions in support of exercise Valiant Shield 2006, June 19-23, off the coast of Guam.
The squadron, currently embarked aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) as part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14, flies the F/A-18C Hornet and will be flying missions in support of the exercise.
Valiant Shield 2006 will involve more than 20,000 U.S. service members and will combine three carrier strike groups, their embarked air wings and 28 Navy ships, along with forces from the Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, and Coast Guard.
According to Cmdr. George Slook, VFA-113's commanding officer, the Stingers will conduct defensive air countermeasures, maritime interdiction, and air-to-air and air-to-surface target training during complex command-and-control scenarios.
When participating in such a large training exercise, Slook said preparation and safety will be key to the Stingers.
"Having three carrier strike groups in close proximity presents the challenge of having many aircraft in the same airspace," said Slook. "We have done our best to refocus our efforts and ensure that we know what we are doing prior to the exercise by studying procedures, rules of engagement, and practicing similar exercises throughout the work-up cycle before being deployed."
Operating in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean, the U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with approximately 50 ships, 120 aircraft and 20,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any given time.
To learn more about Valiant Shield, visit www.pacom.mil.
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.