Behold The Glory Of 3 Carrier Strike Groups Flexing On North Korea’s Doorstep
With President Donald Trump wrapping up his “very epic” 12-day visit to Asia amid escalating tensions with North Korea, the Department of Defense has deployed three Navy carrier strike groups for a series of joints exercises in the Western Pacific, the first time three CVNs have linked up for military exercises in the Pacific area of operations since Exercise Valiant Shield back in 2007.
Both Trump’s visit and the three-carrier exercise, which included the massive Japanese helicopter carrier Ise and a fleet of both Japanese and South Korea destroyers, wrapped up on Nov. 14; as the DoD was quick to point out, the joint drills were just the latest carrier exercises conducted in the region, with dual-carrier strike group operations in the South China Sea, East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in recent months.
And while the timing of the exercise, first announced on Oct. 24, seems in keeping with Trump and Kim Jong-Un’s ongoing war of words, the Pentagon has emphasized repeatedly that no, this is just a training exercise, not an overt show of force. “It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three,” said U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift said in a Nov. 8 statement. “Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region.”