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thedrifter
11-22-07, 04:31 AM
Marines, sailors to hold war-training exercises off coast
Sue Book
Sun Journal
November 21, 2007 - 7:47PM

At least 12 Navy vessels and an estimated 5,000 Marines and sailors will begin war- training maneuvers Nov. 29 in the Atlantic off the North Carolina coast.

The exercises will continue until Dec. 17 and will involve the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The exercises will take place in waters from Norfolk to Charleston, including waters off Cherry Point.

“The purpose of this exercise is to certify naval forces as combat-ready,” according to a Nov. 20 Navy entry in the Federal Register.

“Activities conducted during the exercise include air-to-ground bombing at land ranges, amphibious landings, mine warfare exercises, gunnery exercises, small craft interdiction operations, maritime interdiction operations, and anti-submarine warfare, including use of mid-frequency active sonar,” the Defense Department said.

Lt. Courtney Hillson, deputy fleet public affairs officer for Second Fleet Command in Norfolk, said the exercise will be conducted by a training team led by the commander of Strike Force Training Atlantic. The strike group is preparing for deployment.

She said similar training is generally held twice a year, depending on Navy needs and world events.

Vessels involved in the maneuvers include the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau, transport dock ships USS Nashville and USS Ashland, guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea, guided-missile destroyers USS Ross and USS Bulkeley, attack submarine USS Albany. The Marine Landing Force from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit will also participate.

The USS Gonzalez will participate as a simulated coalition partner and mock opposition forces include the guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut and guided-missile frigates USS Klakring, USS Nicholas, and USS Hawes.

A notice advising of the maneuvers’ effect on mariners is expected from the Fifth Coast Guard District and Homeland Security. It had not been posted Wednesday afternoon on Web site www.navcen.uscg.gov/lnm/d5/.

Ellie