October 5, 2018 – More than 2,000 Sailors serving aboard USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) and USS New York (LPD 21) departed Oct. 2-3 for NATO-led exercise Trident Juncture 18.
Iwo Jima and New York are homeported at Naval Station Mayport, Florida, and Gunston Hall is homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia.
The nearly 2,000 Marines with a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), built around the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit command element from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, will also embark the ships. The MAGTF is comprised of battalion landing team, a composite aviation squadron and a combat logistics battalion.
Exercise Trident Juncture 18 will take place in Norway, Sweden and Finland beginning this month, with expected participation of more than 40,000 troops from more than 30 NATO member and partner nations. It will be one of NATO’s largest exercises in recent history.
“It’s important for U.S. amphibious forces to conduct operations in the European area of responsibility and for us to work with multinational amphibious forces,” said Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2, Rear Adm. Brad Skillman. “Exercises like Trident Juncture 18 provide and reinforce security measures; maritime and amphibious capability development and presence; synchronized operational planning; and better options for political-military decision making.”
The majority of U.S. troops participating will be a part of ESG-2 and the Marine Corps’ II Marine Expeditionary Force. En route to Norway, U.S. forces will conduct training in Iceland, host a Marine assault landing rehearsal, cold-weather training, a Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO pre-sail conference, and a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, which took place during World War II.
In Norway, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps will participate primarily in the live training portion of Trident Juncture 18. This includes maneuvers on land, at sea, and in the air.