On October 19 and 20, as part of the TRIDENT JUNCTURE 15 exercise, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO), Portuguese Marines (“Fuzileiros”), and the United States Marines Corps demonstrated cooperation and interoperability as they conducted a Combined Amphibious Assault simulation exercise at the Pinheiro da Cruz training range in Portugal.
On October 19, the day before the Combined Amphibious Assault exercise, media outlets visited the USS ARLINGTON in Alcântara, and had the chance to interview representatives from STRIKFORNATO, sailors from the USS ARLINGTON, U.S. Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and Portuguese Fuzileiros as they prepared for the live demonstration.
On October 20, over 100 Portuguese Fuzileiros and over 180 U.S. Marines Corps, as well as personnel and assets of the USS ARLINGTON, under the coordination and direction of STRIKFORNATO, conducted a live Combined Amphibious Assault at Pinheiro da Cruz, in Alentejo. During the simulation exercise, two Landing Craft on Air Cushion (“LCACs”, or large hovercrafts) embarked from the USS Arlington on a ship-to-shore assault. On shore, Marines and Fuzileiros completed the assault, including off-loading vehicles and equipment and the patrol of helicopters from the USS Arlington. U.S. Ambassador Robert Sherman, Portuguese Chief of Defense Staff Vice Admiral Pereira da Cunha and STRIKFORNATO Rear Admiral Roy Kitchener were among the many officials who participated in the exercise.
During a press availability at the end of the initial phase of the exercise, Ambassador Robert Sherman thanked STRIKFORNATO for organizing this exercise, described the performance of the Fuzileiros as “exemplary” and stated that “the world is complicated and often times our problems can only be solved in the first instance when the military creates the time and space for political solutions to take root.” He also described the exercise as “an unforgettable experience.” Rear Admiral Roy Kitchener noted that the Marines and Fuzileiros succeeded in overcoming the challenges they faced and noted that “everything is always a challenge” but that the exercise is still a message that the “NATO alliance is a strong alliance.” Vice Admiral Pereira da Cunha also underscored the importance of Trident Juncture to ensure the interoperability of NATO as well as Portugal’s role as a host country for the exercise.
With over 36,000 military personnel from more than 30 Nations, TRIDENT JUNCTURE 15 (TRJE 15) will train and enhance the ability of NATO military forces and partners to deploy in any direction to meet present and future security challenges. TRJE 15 will test the NATO Response Force (NRF) on its deployability, interoperability, and sustainability. NATO and partner forces, working with international agencies, governments, and organizations, will face complex threats and challenges across a massive exercise area that includes three host nations – Portugal, Spain and Italy, and the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea.