U.S. joint forces conducted coordinated multi-domain, multi-axis, long-range maritime strikes in the Hawaiian Islands Operating Area during a sinking exercise on the decommissioned guided missile frigate ex-USS Ingraham, Aug. 15. Units from Vinson Carrier Strike Group (VINCSG), Submarine Forces Pacific, 1 Marine Expeditionary Force/3rd Marine Air Wing, III Marine Expeditionary/3rd Marine Division, and U.S. Army Multi-Domain Task Force participated in the joint, live-fire exercise. Each exercise is required to sink the hulk in at least 1,000 fathoms (6,000 feet) of water and at least 50 nautical miles from land and surveys are conducted to safeguard against harm to people or marine mammals during the event.
“Lethal combat power was effectively applied to a variety of maritime threats over the last two weeks in a simulated environment as part of the Navy’s Large Scale Exercise and expertly demonstrated Sunday with live ordnance. The precise and coordinated strikes from the Navy and our Joint teammates resulted in the rapid destruction and sinking of the target ship and exemplify our ability to decisively apply force in the maritime battlespace.,” said U.S. 3rd Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Steve Koehler.
Former Navy vessels used in sinking exercises, referred to as hulks, are prepared in strict compliance with regulations prescribed and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency under a general permit the Navy holds pursuant to the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act. Ex-Ingraham was a guided missile frigate commissioned on Aug. 5, 1989, and was decommissioned on Jan. 30, 2015. The ship was named for Duncan Nathaniel Ingraham and is the fourth Navy ship with the namesake. It is the second of its name to be used in a sinking exercise; ex-USS Ingraham (DD 694), which was decommissioned in 1971 and sold to the Greek Navy, was sunk in 2001.
As an integral part of U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. 3rd Fleet operates naval forces in the Indo-Pacific in addition to providing realistic and relevant training necessary to execute U.S. Navy’s timeless roles of sea control and power projection. Third Fleet’s area of responsibility includes approximately fifty million square miles of the eastern and northern Pacific Ocean areas including the Bering Sea, Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, and a sector of the Arctic. Major oil and trade sea lines of communication within this area are critically important to the economic health of the United States and friendly nations throughout the Pacific Rim region.