ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The fifth iteration of Valiant Shield came to a close here Sept. 23 after nine days of joint air, land and sea interoperability training between the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Army.
“Overall, Valiant Shield 2014 was a very successful exercise,” said Rear Adm. Russell Allen, Valiant Shield exercise director. “Opposition forces provided a robust challenge to our air, sea and cyber forces, which enhanced our ability to function as a joint force and validated the Air-Sea Battle concept. The lessons learned will help further the development of tactics, techniques and procedures in the joint environment, especially those for the Air-Sea-Battle concept.”
The goal of Valiant Shield 2014 was to bring together more than 18,000 service members, 200 aircraft and 19 surface vessels to developing a “pre-integrated” joint force built from habitual relationships. This force builds interoperable and complementary cross-domain capabilities and benefits from realistic, shared training enhancing the flexibility to develop new tactics, techniques, and procedures as operational conditions dictate. Such forces will provide the deterrence and stabilizing effects of a force-in-being, ready at the outset of a contingency without delays for buildups or extensive mission rehearsal.
During the air operation portions of the exercise, the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps completed scenarios that included simulated defensive counter-air missions, strike missions, suppressions of enemy air defenses, maritime interdiction, air-to-air refueling, and command and control operations.
In addition, U.S. infantry Marines, along with Guam National Guardsmen, conducted an island seizure exercise on Tinian Island, approximately 50 miles north of Guam. Marines were inserted on the island by two Ospreys from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF. Once on the beach, they encountered opposition provided by Guam’s Army National Guard, Company A, 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry. Over the course of several days, the infantry faced increasingly complicated scenarios while trying to capture an old World War II-era compound.
Valiant Shield 2014 featured several firsts, including the deployment of an Army Patriot missile battery, from the 1-1 Air Defense Artillery Battalion, and the integration of the Task Force Talon terminal high altitude area defense battery assets, previously deployed to Guam.
One of the many sea-based Valiant Shield scenarios was a live-fire sink exercise, which sank the decommissioned USS Fresno (LST 1182) in waters 18,000 feet deep, approximately 215 nautical miles northeast of Guam.
Units from the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps also participated in the sinking exercise, firing a variety of ship-based and aircraft-based weaponry to enhance tactical proficiency and targeting against a surface target at sea.
The lessons learned from exercises like VS14 will assist the U.S. in continuing to develop regional and global power projection capabilities that provide a full range of options to succeed in defense of its interests and those of its allies and partners around the world.
“Valiant Shield was extremely successful for gathering lessons learned in a joint environment,” said Brig. Gen. Andrew Toth, Valiant Shield air boss. “Weather was an issue at the beginning, but thanks to the hard work of some dedicated people, we were able to accomplish all of our objectives. What we learned during Valiant Shield will provide us invaluable improvements to the way we plan and execute future operations.”
Ships from the George Washington and Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Groups and aircraft from the Air Force and Marine Corps operate in formation at the conclusion of Valiant Shield 2014. Valiant Shield is a U.S.-only exercise integrating Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps assets, offering real-world joint operational experience to develop capabilities that provide a full range of options to defend U.S. interests and those of its allies and partners.