The USS Mount Whitney departed Gaeta, Italy, on Tuesday to participate in the Navy’s Large Scale Exercise 2021, which will take place next month.
The U.S.-only event, meant to demonstrate integration abilities and new maritime capabilities, will mimic war at sea and include 36 vessels, including ships, aircraft carriers and submarines, according to a Navy press release.
The units taking part in the overall event will be spread over 17 time zones, according to Navy officials.
The USS Mount Whitney, with a crew of sailors and civil service mariners, is one of two Blue Ridge-class amphibious command ships in service with the Navy.
The Mount Whitney is the command ship for the United States Sixth Fleet, Joint Command Lisbon, and NATO Striking Force.
“Command-at-sea is the bedrock of our naval service,” said Vice Adm. Gene Black, commander of the United States Sixth Fleet, in a statement.
“LSE will put our commanders to the test across the spectrum of naval warfare, from tactical to strategic, integrating the Marine Corps to demonstrate the global fleet’s ability to conduct coordinated operations from the open ocean to the littoral,” said Black.
The event, which is set to take place from August 3 to 16, will involve six Navy and Marine component commands, five numbered US Fleets, and three Marine Expeditionary Forces.
According to the Navy, the war games were the largest scale naval and amphibious exercises “conducted since the Ocean Venture NATO exercises launched during the Cold War in 1981.”
Ocean Ventures ’81 involved 120,000 troops, 250 ships, and approximately 1,000 aircraft in exercises that took place across the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Baltic, and Norwegian seas.