Exercise Valiant Shield

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Official Seal of Valiant Shield 2006
B-52 and F/A-18 aircraft flying over the Carrier Strike Group Five during Valiant Shield 2018
A B-52 Stratofortress leads a formation of Air Force and Navy F-16 Fighting Falcons, F-15 Eagles, and F-18 Hornets over the USS Kitty Hawk, USS Nimitz and USS John C. Stennis Strike Groups during Valiant Shield 2007.

Exercise Valiant Shield is one of the largest United States military war games held in the Pacific Ocean. Until 2018, there have been seven Valiant Shield exercises since 2006.[1] According to the Navy, Valiant Shield focuses on cooperation between military branches and on the detection, tracking, and engagement of units at sea, in the air, and on land in response to a wide range of missions.[2]

The first exercise in 2006 involved 22,000 personnel, 280 aircraft, and 30 ships, including the supercarriers USS Kitty Hawk, USS Abraham Lincoln, and USS Ronald Reagan. It was the largest military exercise to be conducted by the United States in Pacific waters since the Vietnam War, and it was also the first time observers from the People's Republic of China were allowed to view U.S. wargames. The exercise marked the first of what will become biennial exercises involving different branches of the U.S. military.

Valiant Shield 2006 included Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard units. Air operations included thousands of sorties as well as in-air refuelings and parachute deployments. Aircraft from Valiant Shield deployed on missions ranging across the Pacific all the way to Alaska. Ships simulated anti-submarine warfare. Valiant Shield 2006 was the first time that three carrier strike groups had operated together in the Pacific in over ten years. Forces exercised a wide range of skills, including maritime interdiction; defense counter-air; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and command and control.[3]


Observers from China at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam

Observers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy were invited to attend, as were naval officers from India, Singapore, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Russia, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It was the first time observers from the People's Republic of China had ever been sent to observe U.S. war games.[4] China sent a ten-person delegation, including one high-ranking officer each from its navy, army, and air force, as well as officials from its foreign ministry.[5] According to USA Today, Chinese military observers said that observing the exercises gave them a better understanding of U.S. weapons and tactics. Rear Admiral Zhang Leiyu, leader of the delegation, called the visit to the war games near Guam "a positive step in China-U.S. military ties."

Military ties between the United States and China have not been close ever since a communist government came to power in China. Admiral William J. Fallon, the top U.S. commander in the Pacific, said it was "a start" that China accepted his invitation to observe the large-scale exercises.[6] Fallon indicated before the exercises began that he expected China to reciprocate. However, neither Zhang or the Xinhua report gave any indication that such an invitation was forthcoming.[7]

The exercise had implications for other world events as well, including acting as a show of force to possibly deter North Korea from test-firing its new Taepodong-2 missile.[8]

Participating forces[edit]

USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) during the exercise, with fighter and bomber planes flying overhead

The following U.S. forces participated in Valiant Shield 2006:[9]

Attack submarine USS Houston, (SSN-713) takes periscope reading on the SS Petersburg, (T-AOT-9101).

United States Navy[edit]

Carrier Strike Group Five/Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group[edit]

B-2 Spirit stealth bomber from Missouri leads aerial formation.

Carrier Strike Group Nine/Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group[edit]

A B-2 Spirit leading the USS Kitty Hawk, USS Ronald Reagan, and the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike groups

Carrier Strike Group Seven/Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group[edit]

Other Navy Units[edit]

Sailors from the Navy Special Warfare (NSW) community, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians and Navy SEALs conduct a static-line parachute jump off the coast of Guam from HH-60H helicopters.

United States Air Force[edit]

13th Air Force/Kenney Headquarters (PACAF)[edit]

Fifth Air Force[edit]

Eighth Air Force[edit]

11th Air Force (PACAF)[edit]

Eighteenth Air Force[edit]

New York Air National Guard[edit]

United States Marine Corps[edit]

United States Coast Guard[edit]


  1. ^ "Indo-Pacom Wraps Up Valiant Shield 2018". The U.S. Air Force. 2018-09-25. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  2. ^ "Valiant Shield Provides Valuable Joint Training Among U.S. Military Forces". Navy newsstand. 2006-06-20. Archived from the original on 2006-11-25. Retrieved 2006-06-24.
  3. ^ Journalist 1st Class (SW/AW) Shane Tuck, USN. "Valiant Shield Provides Valuable Joint Training Among U.S. Military Forces". NNS060620-15. USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. ^ "U.S. begins massive war games in Pacific". CNN.com. Retrieved 2006-06-20.[dead link]
  5. ^ Bodeen, Christopher (2006-06-20). "Chinese Observers Watch U.S. Wargames". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2006-06-27.
  6. ^ "Commander says Chinese military more open". WTOPnews.com. 2006-06-13. Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2006-06-20.
  7. ^ "China pleased after watching U.S. wargames". USAToday.com. 2006-06-22. Retrieved 2006-06-24.
  8. ^ "Valiant Shield: a display of strength and numbers". Marine Corps Times. 2006-06-21. Archived from the original on 2006-07-09. Retrieved 2006-06-21.
  9. ^ "Participants in Valiant Shield 2006". Valiant Shield 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-06-16. Retrieved 2006-06-23.

External links[edit]