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USS Mount Whitney sails for U.S.-only Large Scale Exercise 2021

By
Kyle Barnett
The USS Mount Whitney left Gaeta, Italy, on Tuesday to prepare for Large Scale Exercise 2021, a globally-integrated exercise held Aug. 3-16. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy
The USS Mount Whitney left Gaeta, Italy, on Tuesday to prepare for Large Scale Exercise 2021, a globally-integrated exercise held Aug. 3-16. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

July 27 (UPI) -- The USS Mount Whitney on Tuesday left Gaeta, Italy, to take part in next month's Large Scale Exercise 2021, the Navy announced.

The U.S.-only event, meant to demonstrate integration abilities and new maritime capabilities, will mimic war at sea and include 36 vessels, including ships, aircraft carriers and submarines, according to a Navy press release.

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The units taking part in the overall event will be spread over 17 time zones, according to Navy officials.

The USS Mount Whitney, with a crew of sailors and civil service mariners, is one of two Blue Ridge-class amphibious command ships in service with the Navy.

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The Mount Whitney serves as the command ship for the U.S. 6th Fleet, Joint Command Lisbon and Striking Force NATO.

"Command-at-sea forms the foundation of our naval service," Vice Adm. Gene Black, commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, said in the release.

"LSE will test our commanders across the spectrum of naval warfare from the tactical to the strategic, integrating the Marine Corps to demonstrate the world-wide fleet's ability to conduct coordinated operations from the open ocean to the littoral," Black said.

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The event -- scheduled for Aug. 3-16. -- will involve six Navy and Marine component commands, five numbered U.S. Fleets and three Marine Expeditionary Forces.

The Navy said the war games were the largest scale naval and amphibious exercises "conducted since the Ocean Venture NATO exercises launched in 1981 during the Cold War."

Ocean Ventures '81 included 120,000 troops, 250 ships and about 1,000 aircraft in exercises conducted across the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Baltic and Norwegian seas.

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