USS KEARSARGE, Atlantic Ocean (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) departed Naval Station Norfolk Jan. 30 to participate in Exercise Bold Alligator 2012.
Bold Alligator 2012 is taking place over a two-week period and is a multi-national joint effort hosted by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to strengthen core competencies in the areas of amphibious operations and bi-lateral cooperation.
The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), as part of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2, joins 2 Marine Expeditionary Brigade (2 MEB), the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, units from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, and various ships and units from foreign partners.
"Our allies will be as equally engaged as we are during the exercise," said Capt. Dorian F. Jones, Kearsarge commanding officer. "We will have land, sea and air units from eight countries as we strive to develop bi-lateral relationships and execute the CNO's (Chief of Naval Operations) Maritime Strategy as it pertains to maritime security cooperation."
The exercise, which will be the largest of its kind in a decade, will consist of live, virtual and constructive scenarios, and will showcase the full spectrum of amphibious capabilities.
"It's a revitalization of the Navy and Marine Corps amphibious expeditionary tactics," said Jones. "It's about re-invigorating the Navy and Marine Corps interoperability and our culture of combined operations from the sea."
While the end result of the exercise will be a strengthened ability to respond to man-made and natural crises around the world, the broader purpose is to showcase the advantages of sea basing. Sea basing is the ability for theater commanders to project power ashore without relying on shore-based infrastructure. Amphibious forces thereby limit the vulnerability and sustainment requirements for shore-based personnel.
"As we learned in Haiti, and historically in other operations, a prepositioned amphibious ready group becomes a force multiplier," said Jones, referring to the humanitarian relief operations in that country following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake two years ago. "Our quick response to a limited engagement in Libya was also due to sea basing. It's a concept that works in practice, and our ability to train to those expectations with our partners is what sets us apart from our enemies."
Bold Alligator 2012 is scheduled to conclude Feb. 12.
"The exercise will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week until all of our training objectives are met," said Jones. "We train like we fight, and I expect all of Kearsarge's Sailors will put forth their best effort to ensure the greatest success."
Join the conversation about Bold Alligator 2012 on social media using #BA12.
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For more news from USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd3/.