Mexican, Canadian, French ships join US-hosted amphibious drill Bold Alligator

The US-hosted amphibious drill Bold Alligator will be joined by Mexican, Canadian and French Navy ships in addition to personnel from a number of other ally countries.

Bold Alligator 2017 (BA17) started in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on October 18 and will run through October 30 around Camp Lejeune and at-sea Atlantic ranges.

Mexican Navy’s ARM Papaloapan (A 411), French FS Forbin (D 620) and Canadian Navy ships HMCS Summerside (M 711) and HMCS Glace Bay (M 701), are joining a fleet of US Navy ships led by aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).

Other US warships participating include destroyers USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Laboon (DDG 58), USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), cruisers USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and USS Hue City (CG 66), amphibious transport dock USS Arlington (LPD 24), dock landing ships USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), and mine countermeasure ships USS Champion (MCM 4) and USS Ardent (MCM 12)

Bold Alligator 17 is a live, events-driven exercise. While the scope of the exercise has been modified because of U.S. and partner nation efforts in the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, BA17 will incorporate amphibious, carrier strike group, air wing, and expeditionary mine countermeasures operations to provide a rigorous training environment for the combined forces.

“The Bold Alligator exercise series advances how integrated naval forces operate with our allies and partners,” said Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, USFF. “Improving Navy-Marine Corps amphibious core competencies with coalition, allied and partner nations is a necessary investment in the current and future readiness of our forces.”

BA17 builds on the work done during BA16, which integrated the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (2d MEB) and Expeditionary Strike Group Two (ESG-2) command elements embarked pierside in a live, virtual and constructive environment.

BA16 prepared U.S. service members and partner nation planners for a progressive exercise construct that put amphibious forces both at sea and ashore in a joint, forcible entry operation training scenario. The capabilities required to conduct a forcible entry against an opposing military force are the same capabilities that make the amphibious force the first and best choice for crisis response, humanitarian assistance and building partnerships.

“Bold Alligator allows the Navy and Marine Corps team to prepare for naval expeditionary amphibious combat operations to enhance current naval readiness and inform sea control and power projection force development capabilities,” said Lt. Gen. Mark Brilakis, Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command. “Although Bold Alligator 17 has been modified due to real world events it still allows the Navy/Marine Corps team to gain capabilities and to work with our partner nations to set the stage for future exercises in the amphibious training continuum such as Exercise Trident Juncture 18, BA19 and LSE 2020.”