US Navy Rear Admiral Kenneth Whitesell praised HMS Queen Elizabeth saying the vessel would ease stress on the US fleet.
Speaking from the bridge of the USS George H.W. Bush, the Rear Admiral was quoted in The News, Portsmouth here:
“We have been fighting essentially since 1991 with Desert Storm and Desert Shield. So both the metal side of that – our hardware as well as our software, our human beings – have been worn out over the last decade.
To be able to bring Queen Elizabeth as well as the Prince of Wales in is going to be an incredible game-changer for us because now we can share some of that responsibility.
This is a world game-changer, it’s a good for the “good guys” and it’s not too good for the bad guys.”
The USS George H.W. Bush had UK personnel on board as part of the UK-US Long Lead Specialist Skills Programme which the Royal Navy say qualifies them in US carrier operations in preparation for the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Commodore Andrew Benton, Commander UK Carrier Strike Group said:
“Exercise Saxon Warrior is a large, multinational joint exercise which involves fifteen warships from five different nations, submarines, over 100 aircraft and about 9,000 personnel.”
As we reported in January, Saxon Warrior is an exercise designed to develop ‘theatre-specific combat skills’ as well as enhance cooperation between multi-national forces.
Led by Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST), Saxon Warrior presents a ‘myriad of challenges to the multi-national and multi-platform force by creating a diverse and unpredictable war environment based on fictional geo-political and military scenarios’.
Cmdr Eric Retz, US Navy Carrier Strike Group 2’s operations officer, said of the exercise:
“Saxon Warrior will test every aspect of our war-fighting capabilities-from air wing strikes to the self-defenxe of the carrier.
The beauty of operating with coalition partners is that we practice with them, learn their strengths, and then blend those strengths together to make the most potent coalition force possible.”