Alaska prepares for major US Navy, Marines exercise
Thousands of service members from the U.S. Navy and Marines will be in Alaska next week. The 49th state is considered prime training ground for amphibious assault exercises.
The USS Somerset, which conducts operations in the Pacific Ocean, will soon travel north to Alaska. U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer says the Somerset is among the ships that will take part in the Arctic Expeditionary Capabilities Exercise at Adak.
"Not only do we have deep-water ports up there for blue water Navy, we have areas such as Adak where we can do amphibious assault training," said Spencer. "We have Wainwright, we have all the areas where we can do ground training on the mainland of Alaska."
Nearly 3,000 U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel are expected to take part. The exercise helps prepare U.S. forces to respond to crises in the Indo-Pacific.
"It truly is an area we need to have presence [...] If you look at our strategy and our efforts for what we're doing in the Arctic, this is just one of the first muscle-movements we've committed to this year," Spencer said.
Sen. Dan Sullivan hopes the exercise increases America's presence in the region.
"If you look at what the Russians are doing, 14 deep-water ports, almost two dozen air bases, 40 icebreakers, building 13 more," said Sullivan. "The Chinese are now calling themselves a near-Arctic nation with their own icebreakers."
The exercise will also take place in Southcentral Alaska and Southern California. The drill wraps up Sept. 28.
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