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Naval forces from U.S. and Turkey prepare for Egemen 2015 exercise

By Ryan Maass
Naval forces from U.S. and Turkey prepare for Egemen 2015 exercise
The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) will participate in Egemen 2015. U.S. Navy photo by Mate 3rd Class Jose E. Ponce.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Amphibious forces from the U.S. Navy and Turkey began participating in Egemen 2015, a naval training exercise, on Saturday.

The exercises will be planned by a combined Turkish-U.S. staff, and will include tactical level training ashore in addition to amphibious landing, and other elements of amphibious warfare. The U.S. will commit the USS Kearsarge and part of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit to the exercise.

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Egemen 2015 is designed to bolster expeditionary warfare skills, and strengthen partnerships between U.S. and Turkish forces.

"The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group with Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, have looked forward to this Turkish-led exercise, which will allow the U.S. and Turkey both to build joint expeditionary capability and be ready to respond to meet security challenges," said Capt. Augustus P. Bennett, commodore, Amphibious Squadron.

Capt. David Bossert, commanding officer of Kearsarge, said Turkey is an important ally both to the United States and to NATO as the alliance moves to flex its defensive capabilities around the world.

"The Sailors and Marines of the Turkish and U.S. expeditionary naval task forces will conduct maneuvers at-sea en route to an objective area, culminating a combined forces assault to secure landing force objectives ashore," Bossert said. "High-end tactical level training of this type reassures forces of both nations that when called upon, NATO can respond."

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