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, suppression 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.
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.