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USS Antietam conducts Tomahawk strike exercise near Guam

USS Antietam conducts Tomahawk strike exercise near Guam
A Tomahawk cruise missile was fired from the USS Antietam on Sunday in the Pacific Ocean, part of the Valiant Shield 2020 exercise. Photo courtesy of U.S. Pacific Fleet

Sept. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. military forces in the Valiant Shield 2020 exercise in the Pacific Ocean included a simulated Tomahawk cruise missile attack by the USS Antietam, the U.S. Navy said on Monday.

The guided-missile cruiser, part of the strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, successfully targeted land on the uninhabited Farallon de Medinilla range off the coast of Guam on Sunday.

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The exercise demonstrated the ship's ability to "track, target, and engage threats to protect peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific, the Navy said in a statement.

"The TLAM [Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile] exercise, as part of the overall Valiant Shield 20 scenario, provides the entire Ronald Reagan Strike Group the opportunity to exercise critical war fighting skills," said Capt. Russell Caldwell, commander of the USS Antietam.

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The exercise, Caldwell said, "helps the warfighter refine their tactical abilities to respond to a full range of military response options that are available in defense of our shared interests in the Asia Pacific region."

The 12-day biennial exercise of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command started Sept. 14 in Guam and at the Mariana Islands Range Complex, running through Sept. 25. Approximately 100 aircraft and about 11,000 personnel of the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines are involved in training integration in a "blue water environment."

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On Saturday, another Valiant Shield exercise sank the decommissioned frigate USS Curtis in a sequence of live ordnance and missiles fired from planes, cruisers and a submarine.

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