USS America completes Alligator Dagger amphibious assault exercises

The amphibious assault ship USS America has completed a series of training drills during the Alligator Dagger 2017 training exercise off the coast of Djibouti.
By Stephen Carlson  |  Sept. 20, 2017 at 1:31 PM
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Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The amphibious assault ship USS America has completed a series of training drills during the Alligator Dagger 2017 training exercise off the coast of Djibouti.

The America is the key ship of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Force and conducted amphibious assault and logistics training Sept. 4 to Sept. 20.

Alligator Dagger is a combat rehearsal led by Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. It involved both Navy and Marine personnel attached to the Amphibious Ready Group, a quick-response formation for attacking coastal areas.

The exercise was performed with the amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor, the amphibious dock transport ship USS San Diego, and the expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B. Puller.

"We have a wide range of capabilities between our ships, aircraft, logistical equipment and personnel, which enables our blue-green team to handle multiple missions at one time," Capt. Rome Ruiz, commander of Amphibious Squadron 3, said in a press release.

"Alligator Dagger has been a valuable opportunity for the ARG/MEU team to not only rehearse for new and ongoing operations but to also demonstrate our combat proficiency and flexible combat potential in support of crisis response and regional stability," Ruiz added.

The America-class amphibious assault ship is designed for the deployment of attached Marines via landing craft and helicopters while providing it's own air support. Attached aircraft range from the MV-22 Osprey to the Harrier jet.

The Marine Corps version of the F-35 Lightning II, the F-35B, with vertical take-off and landing capability, is expected to be a key part of the ship in coming years.

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