A Rolling Airframe air-defense missile is launched from the USS Makin Island on April 14. Navy photo

The Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center in San Diego has completed a 19-day, live-fire exercise involving four ships in the Pacific off Southern California.

Vessels involved in the exercise included the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, amphibious transport dock ships USS Somerset and USS San Diego, and the littoral combat ship USS Freedom. The exercise took place from March 30 through April 17.

“This advanced tactical exercise was the most demanding we’ve had to date for the surface force as we navigated being able to safely execute this critical training amidst the challenges presented by COVID-19,” said Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, commander of the warfighting center. “The ultimate intent was to increase the lethality and combat power of naval surface forces by preparing our units to do what warships are designed to do — fight and win at sea — and that’s exactly what was accomplished here.”

The warships trained for anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, air defense and amphibious warfare. The ships lofted missiles, launched torpedoes and fired their guns in a series complex exercises.

The Navy said sailors aboard the ships followed CDC guidelines while commanders “carefully balanced the need to maintain unit readiness and the health of the force with the impact to families and the sailors.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.