GULF OF ALASKA - USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and select ships from Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, along with U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and Marine Corps service members, successfully concluded Exercise Northern Edge 2019 (NE19), May 24, bringing an end to Alaska's largest biannual joint-military training exercise.
The training exercise, which ran from May 13–24, was designed to prepare joint forces to respond to crises in the Indo-Pacific. More than 10,000 service members and approximately 250 aircraft from the Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy, from active duty, reserve, and National Guard units, participated in the exercise.
“This is a very demanding operating area and not something we’re used to,” said Capt. David Fowler, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 23. “We, as a Navy, need to get acclimated to these regions and work in a joint environment to gain a better appreciation for what our sister services do and what they bring to the table, because should we ever need to truly defend our nation against adversaries, it is going to take all of us working together to achieve that objective.”
The exercise, hosted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces, was conducted in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, which encompassed more than 60,000 miles of airspace throughout Alaska, and included support infrastructure from two Air Force bases.
“Northern Edge was special because it took the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group away from our home waters into an operating area we’re not used to exercising in,” said Rear Adm. Daniel Dwyer, commander, CSG-9. “The training we received in the Gulf of Alaska will make our strike group a more capable, ready, and lethal naval force.”
NE19 provided Theodore Roosevelt personnel and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 an opportunity to sharpen their skills and practice operations and techniques. Also, it gave the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group a chance to strengthen relationships with other U.S. military branches and develop cooperative plans and programs with these organizations.
“On your high school football team at practice, you train at a certain level. You bring in a cross-town rival and you scrimmage against that team, you raise your game. You exercise at a higher intensity and at a higher level,” said Dwyer. “That’s what it’s like at Northern Edge. We were training with the Air Force and Marine Corps. Every member of this Navy combat team raised their game and was at their best.”
The last time an aircraft carrier participated in Northern Edge was 2009. Roosevelt’s presence and accomplishments during NE19 proved it can operate in the Indo-Pacific region and carry out the Navy’s mission anywhere around the globe.
“We had a great opportunity to train as a joint force in a new environment, hone our lethality, and our ability to communicate and operate in a new domain,” said Capt. Carlos Sardiello, commanding officer of Theodore Roosevelt. “Roosevelt training [in the Gulf of Alaska] helps us to be ready to go wherever, whenever we need to, to operate as a joint force.”
NE19 participants served as part of a joint task force to enhance multi-service integration and exercise a wide range of joint capabilities.
“This is the first time we’ve operated as an integrated team and the performance has been nothing short of outstanding,” said Dwyer. “Flawless execution is what I witnessed at every level.”
The Navy is deepening its commitments to Artic security and operations in Alaska. The U.S. is an Artic nation and it is incumbent on the Navy to be ready to operate in this part of the world to ensure freedom of navigation and that the Artic remains conflict free, according to Dwyer.
“For us to travel from our home waters to the Gulf of Alaska and compete at the highest end of naval combat in this unique and very challenging environment is incredibly impressive,” said Dwyer.
Along with Theodore Roosevelt and its embarked CVW-11, four additional Navy ships participated in NE19: USS Russell (DDG 59), USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS John Finn (DDG 113), and USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187).