Army Plans Maritime Exercises with Navy in Pacific

Army leaders expect aviation units to continue training with Navy ships as the service looks to rebalance involvement in the Pacific.

The new commander of the U.S. Army Pacific said the service will continue conducting Army-Navy maritime training exercises in the Pacific theater with Navy ships and U.S. Army aviation assets.

“We hope to increase the amount of aviation in the Pacific. We’ve done these [Army-Navy maritime exercises] in the Middle East and we are keen to do the same in the Pacific and work with Army aviation in a maritime environment,” said Gen. Vincent Brooks, Commanding General, U.S. Army Pacific, speaking Monday at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition.

The Army has conducted joint training exercises wherein Army helicopters landed on Navy ships in the Middle East. Over this past summer, Army helicopters landed aboard several Navy ships including the USS Ponce, an amphibious transport dock. The exercises took place in what’s called the 5th fleet area of responsibility, an area including the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf and other waters nearby.

Now, the Army plans to bring these exercises to the waters of the Pacific theater, Brooks explained. The operating radius of Army aircraft is extended by landing on a Navy vessel, Brooks explained.

Brooks said the Army has aircraft assets in Alaska, Hawaii and Korea. He explained that U.S. Army Pacific works closely with the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet.

“More than half of the world’s population lives in the Pacific,” Brooks added.

Citing the U.S. Army’s historic involvement in the Pacific, Brooks said the service’s rebalance is a natural fit.

“The roots of our expeditionary experience in the Army were born in the Pacific,” Brooks said.

Expeditionary maneuvers, while seemingly novel in light of the Pacific rebalance, have historic precedent for the Army. Thousands of Army soldiers traveled across the ocean to storm the beaches of Normandy in June, 1944 during World War II.

Not only will the rebalance be strategically and tactically relevant with respect to potential conflict, but it also has great relevance for humanitarian efforts and disaster relief, Brook said.

“Our partners are excited about our increased presence in the Pacific,” Brooks said while referring to an ongoing series of meetings and training exercises with allies in the area.

Brooks recently met with as many as four different ministers of defense and visited many countries in the region since taking over the command post this past summer. Overall, there are 36 countries in the region, 27 of them have militaries.

About the Author

Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior.