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By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

HAGATNA, Guam (Marianas Variety, June 21) – At least 33 foreign dignitaries from seven countries are observing the Valiant Shield 2006 military exercises in the waters off Guam, which began Monday, according to the Valiant Shield Media Logistics Center Public Affairs.

The five-day Valiant Shield 2006, one of the largest joint-military exercises in the Pacific, involves three U.S. aircraft carrier groups, 30 warships, 280 aircraft and 22,000 soldiers.

According to the Valiant Shield’s public affairs office, the visitors from Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and Singapore arrived on Guam on June 16.

Representatives from local and international media have also been invited to watch the training exercise, which is designed to test the military’s ability to rapidly assemble a joint force in response to any contingency.

"Valiant Shield focuses on integrated joint training and interoperability while responding to a range of mission scenarios," according to the Valiant Shield Web site.

The public affairs office stated in its Web site that the 33 observers from seven countries toured Andersen Air Force Base on June 17 before departing for overnight embarks on the three U.S. Navy aircraft carriers.

"While aboard the different carriers, the observers will see day and night time flight operations, air crew survival and maintenance demonstrations, static displays of aircraft and tours of the ships’ bridge, flight deck, combat direction center and hangar bay," the public affairs office said.

The foreign guests were scheduled to visit the Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base to witness demonstrations by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit Five, Mobile Security Squadron Seven, as well as touring the Combat Readiness Group and viewing flightline operations.

June 21, 2006

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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