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NEWS | Sept. 12, 2023

U.S., Canadian naval forces participate in exercise Noble Wolverine

By Lt. Cmdr. Seth Koenig, Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron 15

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) is operating alongside the Royal Canadian Navy’s HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341) as part of the exercise Noble Wolverine in the South China Sea.

A wide-ranging fall exercise, Noble Wolverine involves sustained Surface Action Group (SAG) operations intended to improve interoperability between the allied navies and support a free and open Indo-Pacific. The exercise, which is taking place over multiple phases, involves maneuvering drills, small boat operations and helicopter flight deck training, as well as routine bilateral surface operations.

The U.S. and Canadian ships also executed a combined at-sea replenishment with the Henry J. Kaiser-class underway replenishment oiler USNS Yukon (T-AO 202) during Noble Wolverine.

“By continuing to operate in the Indo-Pacific, the Royal Canadian Navy is building relationships with partner nations and reinforcing partnerships with our allies like the U.S. Navy,” said Cmdr. Sam Patchell, commanding officer of HMCS Ottawa. “Joint exercises such as Noble Wolverine build a level of trust and interoperability that can only be forged at sea.”

USS Ralph Johnson is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, and operates under Commander, Task Force (CTF) 71 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15. During the exercise small boat operations, Patchell and a contingent of Ottawa sailors embarked USS Ralph Johnson.

Several Ralph Johnson sailors also embarked Ottawa during the exercise.

“Noble Wolverine allows our allied sailors to work closely together at sea and grow that crucial interoperability as a fighting team,” said Cmdr. Isaia Infante, commanding officer of USS Ralph Johnson. “We know that people across the region share our dedication to a free and open Indo-Pacific, and we're excited to work with all of those partners and allies in pursuit of our shared goals.”

Commander, Task Force 71 is U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force. CTF 71 is responsible for the readiness, tactical and administrative responsibilities for forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers as well as any surface unit conducting independent operations in the region.

“There is tremendous value for our surface forces in operating alongside our close allies for extended periods of time,” said Capt. Walter Mainor, commander of Task Force 71 and DESRON 15. “By continuing to build this operational familiarity, our allied forces can train to react as one coordinated team. As we practice those tactical reflexes together, we truly multiply the size and strength of our forces.”

U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

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