Friday, November 06, 2009

U.S. 7th Fleet to Participate in ANNUALEX

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Ships, submarines and aircraft from the U.S. 7th Fleet will participate in a bilateral exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Nov. 10-18 in waters and airspace around Japan.

The exercise, called ANNUALEX 21G, is designed to enhance the capabilities of both naval forces, for continued success in coordinated and bilateral operations in the defense of Japan. In particular, ANNUALEX 21G will focus on enhancing military-to-military relationships, improving command and control, air, undersea and surface warfare.

U.S. Navy units taking part in the exercise with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force units include elements operating from Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Fleet Activities Sasebo and Naval Air Facility Atsugi.

The aircraft carrier USS George Washington will participate for the second time since replacing USS Kitty Hawk in the Forward Deployed Naval Force last year. Other units include USS Essex, USS Defender, USS Cowpens, USS Tortuga, USS City of Corpus Christi, USS Key West, USS Crommelin, USS Curtis Wilbur, USS Denver, USNS Alan Shepard, USS Lassen, USS Mustin, USS O Kane, USS Shiloh, USNS Rappahannock and USNS Victorious, as well as CTF-70, Destroyer Squadron 15, Carrier Air Wing 5 and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Rear Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet, will command U.S. naval forces in the exercise.

ANNUALEX is a routine bilateral exercise held each year between the U.S. Navy and the JMSDF. Approximately 8,500 U.S. naval personnel will participate in the exercise.

The U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward- deployed U.S. fleets, with approximately 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft and 40,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any given time.