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CORDOVA, Alaska - Rear Adm. Scott Gray, commander of Navy Region Northwest, visited Cordova, Alaska, May 19-22 to meet with local civil authorities and the Native Village of Eyak as part of an outreach engagement in Alaska during Exercise Northern Edge.
“Alaska is a strategic location. Navy exercises and operations here are essential to the nation’s commitment to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” said Gray. “And it is imperative for us to engage with members of local communities like Cordova to talk about the important work your Navy is doing.”
During the visit, Gray met with Cordova Mayor Clay Koplin, Harbormaster Tony Schinella, representatives from the Native Village of Eyak, and city council members.
The benefit of bringing joint forces to Alaska to exercise, Gray said, is the opportunity to practice joint operations in a unique maritime environment.
“The Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex’s expansive ranges and airspace, along with support of two Air Force bases, provides an exceptional venue and a strong support network for exercise participants that cannot be found anywhere else in the Indo-Pacific,” Gray said.
Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8, currently embarked on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), also conducted a search and rescue swimmer (SAR) demonstration over Eyak Lake, landed and had the opportunity to engage with members of the local community.
Northern Edge 2019 is a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercise that prepares joint forces to respond to crises in the Indo-Pacific.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to use this expansive training range so we can conduct critical joint training operations,” Gray said. “What we are doing here makes us a better Navy, better warfighters, and better able to meet our national security obligations.”
For the first time in 10 years, a Pacific Fleet aircraft carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), is participating in the exercise.
Five Navy ships and one airwing are participating in Northern Edge, including Carrier Strike Group Nine, Roosevelt with embarked Carrier Air Wing Eleven (CVW 11), USS Russell (DDG 59), USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS John Finn (DDG 113), and USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187).