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SAN DIEGO - The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are strengthening joint ties during Northern Edge 21 (NE21).
Northern Edge, a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercise hosted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces, provides high-end, realistic war fighter training; develops and improves joint interoperability; and enhances the combat readiness of participating forces.
This past week, aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) conducted more than 300 aircraft launches and traps, and embarked squadrons completed more than 830 flight hours during NE21. The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) ashore from the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) serves as the lead element at Cold Bay, identified as an advanced naval base.
"Operating with our Air Force, Marine Corps, and Army teammates the first week of Northern Edge proved to all of us how strong we are as a joint force," said Capt. Eric Anduze, commanding officer of aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). "This training has been invaluable and the whole Rough Rider team is excited to be operating in such a beautiful and unique part of the world."
The Makin Island ARG is executing various air and amphibious operations from amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), and amphibious transport docks USS San Diego (LPD 22) and USS Somerset (LPD 25) while maneuvering over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex.
"It's been a breathtaking experience operating in the austere Alaskan environment, as we've put our procedures, equipment, and our people to the test of winds, seas, and icy temperatures," said Capt. Henry Kim, Makin Island ARG commodore. "I couldn't be more impressed with the resilience and success of our efforts thus far, which were achieved with our joint force partners of the Army and Air Force."
The Marine Wing Support Detachment, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced), established a forward arming and refueling point at Cold Bay to provide around 85,000 lbs of fuel to multiple joint aircrafts.
“We’ve operated as a Navy/Marine Corps team throughout deployment, but Northern Edge has truly exercised our ability to integrate with our Army and Air Force counterparts, as well,” said Col. Fridrik Fridriksson, 15th MEU commanding officer. “The lessons learned during Northern Edge 21 will help refine future operating concepts, developing a more cohesive and lethal joint force.”
On May 8, Marines and Sailors at Cold Bay hosted an open house to engage with the community. In addition to meeting service members, Cold Bay residents were given a tour of a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System along with AH-1Z Viper, UH-1Y Venom and CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters. The day also included a military working dog demonstration.
Approximately 15,000 U.S. service members, six U.S. Navy ships and 240 aircraft are participating in NE21. Northern Edge 21 provides the opportunity for U.S. military personnel to sharpen their skills; practice tactics, techniques, and procedures; improve command, control and communication relationships; and develop cooperative plans and programs.