NEWS | Sept. 20, 2019

Spencer, Secretary of the Navy, Visits Sailors, Marines in Arctic Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nicholas Burgains Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SEWARD, Alaska -- Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer and Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Karl Schultz visited military forces participating in Arctic Expeditionary Capabilities Exercise (AECE) 2019 in Seward, Alaska, Sept. 17.

About 3,000 Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel are participating in the joint training exercise. AECE tests expeditionary logistical capabilities in the Arctic region and prepares joint forces to respond to crises across the Indo-Pacific.

“Alaska is one of the best training venues we have,” Spencer said while in Seward. “The location is tremendously strategic when it comes to protecting the homeland, and training here is extremely important to the Navy’s Arctic strategy. We need to conduct exercises like AECE to continue pushing our joint force into the future, and continue pursuing innovation within the force.”

Spencer and Schultz received a tour of AECE assets in Seward, including USS Comstock (LSD 45) and both a Landing Craft Unit (LCU) and Lighter, Amphibious Resupply, Cargo (LARC). They also observed the Amphibious Bulk Liquid Transfer System (ABLTS) being operated at Seward’s 4th of July Beach, observing sea-to-shore operations between Seabees from Navy Vargo Handling Battalion (NHCB) 1 and Beach Master Unit (BMU) 1.

“There is no better way to spend a day than with Sailors and Marines getting the mission done out in the field," Spencer said. "Their enthusiasm and professionalism are contagious."

AECE, in its first iteration, is designed to provide realistic training to Sailors and Marines while connecting with the local communities in the Aleutian Islands and south-central Alaska. The