By Lt. Zack Westerman, Logistics Support Officer, NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Yokosuka Site Marianas
NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka Site Marianas personnel, in coordination with Reservists and other logistics commands, provided logistics support to 12 U.S. Navy and Military Sealift Command (MSC) vessels, along with various air assets, both shore and sea based, in support of Valiant Shield 2018 (VS18).
Valiant Shield is a biennial exercise focused on Joint training among the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force across sea, land, air and cyberspace domains. During the exercise, a live fire sink exercise (SINKEX) was conducted and the decommissioned USS St. Louis (LKA 116) was sunk in the vicinity of Guam. Valiant Shield also included exercises consisting of antisubmarine operations, air defense, maritime security and amphibious operations.
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NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Site Marianas supported Exercise Valliant Shield 2018. Pictured from left to right are SHSA Nicholas Howard, LS2 John Walker and LSSN Bryce Maguire. –photo by LS2 Ana Guerrero
In addition to the normal challenges of hosting a major fleet exercise, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Site Marianas, Naval Base Guam and other commands overcame the effects of Typhoon Mangkhut. The typhoon struck near Guam on September 10, causing widespread power loss and damage across the island. Though the typhoon interrupted VS18, the quick response by all organizations under Joint Region Marianas ensured the exercise was able to recommence in the aftermath with minimal interruption.
“Exercise Valiant Shield provided Fleet Logistics Center Yokosuka Site Marianas with the opportunity to exercise interoperability among our logistic partners such as Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Distribution Guam, DLA Troop Support Pacific Guam, MSC and other agencies,” said Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Foursha, site director for NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Site Marianas. “The synergy of the organizations involved made support of a major exercise so shortly after a powerful storm possible.”
The VS18 participants included the afloat units of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Carrier Air Wing 5, USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), USS Antietam (CG 54), USS Milius (DDG 69), USS Shoup (DDG 86), USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Benfold (DDG 65), USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE 14), USNS 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo (T-AK 3008), USNS Dahl (T-AKR 312), USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204), SS Curtiss (T-AVB 4) and Guam-based Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25. In addition, personnel from 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Aircraft Group 12 participated in the exercise.
Throughout the month of September, Guam lived up to its title as “The Pacific Supermarket.” In the western U.S. territory, the tropical island of Guam became the one-stop shop for everything from provisions and parts, to mail and hazardous material. In the weeks before and after exercise VS18 commenced, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Site Marianas supported multiple port visits and countless on-loads and offloads of high priority material, mail, depot level repairable parts and food. Coordination for buses, vehicle rentals, and cell phones was also orchestrated despite the short-fused schedule caused by Typhoon Mangkhut.
The exercise concluded with a USS Ronald Reagan port call in Guam with USS Chancellorsville, as well as a port visit to the Commonwealth of the North Marianas Islands Saipan for USS Benfold.