US Navy heads to Arctic for expeditionary capabilities drill

The US Navy and Marine Corps have deployed some 3,000 service members  for the Arctic Expeditionary Capabilities Exercise (AECE) 2019 in areas of the Aleutian Islands, Southcentral Alaska and Southern California from Sept. 1-28.

USS Somerset is one of the units taking part in the exercise. US Navy file photo

AECE is one in a series of US Indo-Pacific Command exercises in 2019 that prepares joint forces to respond to crises in the Indo-Pacific.

The exercise will specifically test joint expeditionary force logistical transfer capabilities in the Arctic environment, including wet logistics over the shore, expeditionary mine countermeasures, mobile diving and salvage and an offshore petroleum discharge system.

Navy and Marine Corps participants will conduct operational and tactical actions to validate the littoral operations in a contested environment (LOCE) and the expeditionary advanced base operations (EABO) concepts.

Major participating units include US Pacific Fleet, Marine Corps Forces Pacific, US 3rd Fleet, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3, and I Marine Expeditionary Force. Afloat units include USS Somerset (LPD 25) and USS Comstock (LSD 45).

Ashore units include Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 1, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit 1, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 1, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3, and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1.